NHL Playoffs Round One Preview: Calgary Flames vs Dallas Stars

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CALGARY, AB – APRIL 11: Matthew Tkachuk #19 of the Calgary Flames celebrates after scoring his team’s second goal against the Colorado Avalanche in Game One of the Western Conference First Round during the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 15, 2019 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)

NHL playoffs (for real) are finally here and the quest for Stanley is finally on. After defeating the Winnipeg Jets in the qualifier round, the Flames next test lies in the Dallas Stars. This series will be out of seven games, and the first puck drop is later this afternoon.

In the face of this odd NHL season, teams are looking to win the Cup while also ensuring fans do not look at it as an asterisk win. Both the Flames and the Stars will be sure to have some unreal talent hit the ice. The Stars had a less than optimal round robin, going 1-2. The Flames closed out the Jets in four games, and look to do the same to Dallas.

Matchup Breakdown

NHL goalies are always put on blast during the playoffs, as one good save can mean a win or a loss. In this series, Cam Talbot will likely be up against Ben Bishop or Anton Khudobin. If both goalies play to their true potential, there is no doubt it will be hard to score.

Both the Flames and the Stars have their share of star power in the lineup, as neither club boasts any prominent injuries. While Calgary’s main stars continue to make an impact against Winnipeg, the Stars main shiners looked outright bad. Seguin was benched for an unknown reason in one round robin game, and in the most recent one, Benn looks to be completely clueless.

This is not me bashing Dallas by any means. They are a great club, it’s why they made it to the round-robin, and not a qualifier. However, as evidenced by the big-name clubs who have been eliminated (i.e Toronto, Edmonton & Pittsburgh), a full team effort will be needed in order to win. Calgary definitely wins the forward matchup if Seguin and Benn don’t produce. Defensive ability is a draw, as neither team has official stand out players on the blue line.

Series Prediction

Another thing which will determine this NHL series are the special teams. Special teams were a deciding factor in Calgary’s triumph, and so they will look to be on the same level. Dallas needs to step up their penalty kill if they want a chance of stopping the Flames power play.

In terms of who might win this series, I again go with my heart and say the Calgary Flames. However, separating the emotion from the logic, I say that it’s too early to tell. You can always judge a series by it’s first game, as it will show you which team just wants the win that much more.

Final Prediction: Calgary in 5

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