What to Watch
I'M COMING HOME
The Dallas Stars defeated the St. Louis Blues, 3-2, on Monday night in Game 6 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis to avoid elimination and force Game 7. Dallas would open the game with consecutive goals to jump out to a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period. Forward Mattias Janmark (1-0=1) and forward Vernon Fiddler (1-0=1) registered the opening two goals of the contest, scoring 20 seconds apart to give Dallas an early 2-0 lead. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the goals were the fastest two goals by the Stars in the postseason since Game 1 of the 2000 Stanley Cup Final at New Jersey, when Jon Sim and Kirk Muller established the franchise record with two goals in 12 seconds. Later in the first period, forward Jason Spezza notched the game-winning goal on the power play (1-0=1). Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 35-of-37 shots in the game, improving his record to 6-2 in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Stars were perfect on special teams in Monday's game, converting the lone power play opportunity (1-of-1) and killing off both Blues' man advantages (2-for-2).
The Stars and Blues meet in a winner-take-all contest on Wednesday night, marking the 11th time in franchise history that the Stars have participated in a Game 7. The Stars franchise is 5-6 all-time, with records of 3-2 on home ice and 2-4 on the road. Since moving to Dallas, the team is 2-2 in Game 7's, posting a 2-1 mark at home and going 0-1 on the road. Wednesday's contest is the third time that the Stars and Blues have squared off in a Game 7 matchup in the franchises' histories, with all three games going to overtime. Dallas is 1-2 in Game 7s against the Blues, with a 1-1 mark on home ice. The Stars have never played a Game 7 at American Airlines Center, with the previous three games in Dallas occurring at Reunion Arena. The last time the Stars played in a Game 7 was on April 23, 2007 in the 2007 Western Conference Quarterfinals at Vancouver, as the team dropped a 4-1 decision to the Canucks. The Stars' last Game 7 at home came on May 27, 2000 in the Western Conference Final against Colorado, with Dallas posting a 3-2 win to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
OH CAPTAIN, MY CAPTAIN
Stars captain Jamie Benn registered an assist (0-1=1) against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 and leads the NHL in postseason scoring with 15 points (5-10=15) along with ranking second in assists (10) and tied for sixth in goals (5). Benn has points in nine of his 12 games during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs and recorded a career-long six-game postseason point streak (4-6=10) from April 14 - 24, which is tied for the second-longest point streak in the NHL this postseason. The captain's six-game postseason point streak was the longest by a Dallas Stars player since 2008, when Brenden Morrow also registered points in six consecutive playoff games (4-2=6) from May 2 - May 14, 2008. The native of Victoria, B.C. now has points in 14 of 18 career playoff contests, tallying 20 career points (9-11=20) in the postseason.
JAMIE BENN NAMED FINALIST FOR HART MEMORIAL TROPHY AND TED LINDSAY AWARD
The National Hockey League announced yesterday the finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy, given annually to the player judged to be the most valuable to his team, naming Stars captain Jamie Benn. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) were also named finalists for the Hart Memorial Trophy. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association (PHWA) in all NHL cities at the end of the regular season. On Friday, Benn was selected as a finalist for the Ted Lindsay Award, given annually to the "Most Outstanding Player" in the NHL, as voted by fellow members of the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA). Braden Holtby (Washington Capitals) and Patrick Kane (Chicago Blackhawks) were also named finalists for the Ted Lindsay Award.
SPEZZ IS MORE
Forward Jason Spezza registered the game-winning power play goal (1-0=1) in Game 6 on Monday night and now has a four-game postseason point streak (1-3=4). Spezza currently shares fourth among all skaters in the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs with 13 points (5-8=13) and is tied for fourth in the NHL with eight assists. The forward has skated in all 12 games during the 2016 postseason and has registered three multi-point contests including a four-point game (1-3=4) in the series-clinching Game 6 victory in the First Round against Minnesota. Spezza's four-point outing is tied for the most points in a single game during the 2016 postseason (others: P. Hornqvist - NSH, T. Johnson - TBL, E. Malkin - PIT) and is tied for the most points ever recorded by a Dallas Stars player in a Stanley Cup Playoff game (other: Brad Richards, 1-3=4, Game 2 of the 2008 Western Conference Semifinals at San Jose). The forward also tied his career-high in postseason points in a single game, matching his four-point outing (0-4=4) as a member of the Ottawa Senators in Game 3 of the 2006 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against Tampa Bay. Over the course of his NHL career, Spezza has recorded 65 points (22-43=65) in 68 Stanley Cup Playoff games.