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Second Round

Stars' revamped second line coming together in playoffs

Zuccarello, Hintz, Dickinson combine for seven points in Game 2 win against Blues

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- Mats Zuccarello, Roope Hintz and Jason Dickinson have shown chemistry throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

That translated into production when the Dallas Stars' second line combined for seven points (two goals, five assists) in a 4-2 win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of the Western Conference Second Round at Enterprise Center on Saturday.

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1, with Game 3 at Dallas on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS).

 

[RELATED: Stars defeat Blues in Game 2, even series | Complete Stars vs. Blues series coverage]

 

Hintz had two goals and one assist, and Zuccarello and Dickinson each had two assists. They were especially strong in the first period, when the Stars got out to a 3-1 lead. 

"They've been great all playoffs," goalie Ben Bishop said. "Obviously tonight they stepped up and had some big goals. It was important to get that lead in the beginning and we did a good job of extending it and holding on."

The line combined for six points in the first period. 

"Yeah, I think we have to keep going like that, get pucks deep in the beginning and just keep skating like we do," Hintz said. "That's the biggest thing for us."

The success of a line is certainly a collaborative effort. But Dickinson said Zuccarello, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Rangers on Feb. 23, has been key to their effectiveness. 

Video: DAL@STL, Gm2: Hintz fires home Zuccarello's pash

"He plays off of us so well," Dickinson said. "He makes it a lot easier to find open ice, and [you] know he's going to be able to find you, and it just kind of goes to show on Miro [Heiskanen's] goal. It looks like a nothing play at first, but Zucc makes a great pass up the middle and it springs a 2-on-1. Zucc does a lot of great things for this line."

Heiskanen's goal, which made it 2-0 at 13:39 of the first period, was one of three combined goals the Stars and Blues scored in 1:12 playing 4-on-4. It started with Zuccarello's backhand pass from the Blues zone to Hintz, which led to a 2-on-1 with Heiskanen. But Zuccarello downplayed his effort.

"Sometimes [that pass] is there, sometimes it's not," he said. "It's nothing special."

Zuccarello was more complimentary of Hintz, who had the first and fourth goals.

"It's like he's played 100 playoff games, you know? Nothing seems to bother him," Zuccarello said. "He plays really good every game, and today was a really good game for him. It's good to see."

Hintz and Dickinson have looked calm in their first Stanley Cup Playoff experience thanks in part to playing for Texas of the American Hockey League in the Calder Cup Playoffs last season. Hintz had 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 22 games, and Dickinson had 10 points (two goals, eight assists) in 22 games to help Texas advance to the Calder Cup final.

Video: DAL@STL, Gm2: Janmark and Dickinson combine for goal

"It's instrumental in what they're doing," coach Jim Montgomery said. "I mean, they're just confident, they play hard in tough areas and they make plays because of their speed and their will."

Dickinson said going through this postseason has helped he and Hintz that much more.

"You've got to soak up every moment because these are big moments," Dickinson said. "You see a lot of guys around the League, they don't get this chance often. You want to take advantage of it while you're young because you never know when you'll be back. We want to keep going as long as we can because it's going to be great for us."

The Stars were better in Game 2, but their second line was instrumental in tying the series.

"We're playing a [heck] of a team and we have to be ready every shift that we're out there," Zuccarello said. "Every shift is a grind and it's a tough team to play against. We were good and lucky today to get a win. Hopefully in the next game we're going to play a little bit better."

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