Saturday night’s game between the Stars and Blues in St. Louis is a rematch of last year’s second-round playoff series. Dallas lost in seven, hard-fought games, but should be ready for another deep playoff run this season. This is the Stars’ first chance to get some revenge on a Blues team that went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Dallas has all the components of being a Stanley Cup champion this season. The Stars have a skilled forward group. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn revitalized their careers down the stretch last season after being called out by ownership for lack of production.
The addition of Joe Pavelski in the offseason from the Sharks brings Dallas instant leadership and a phenomenal two-way presence at both ends of the ice. The defense is absolutely stacked with an abundance of burgeoning talent such as John Klingberg, Esa Lindell and Miro Heiskanen. Ben Bishop had the best season of his career in the net for Dallas last season and should be strong again if he can stay injury-free.
St. Louis has the kind of solid squad at both ends of the ice to be competitive again, and the Blues certainly went on an incredible run last season, going from worst at one point last season to first and a Stanley Cup. But the likelihood of the Blues bringing back that type of magic isn’t something I’m willing to bet on.
It’s surely worth noting the 2017-18 Stanley Cup finalists, Washington and Vegas, got off to a combined 17-23 sluggish start in their first 40 combined games last season. The physical and emotional grind of going all the way to the finals in June often takes its toll on those teams to start the following season. St. Louis could be prone to that same kind of slow start to the season coming off a championship.
The play: Stars, +125.