The Dallas Stars have failed to make a major impact on the National Hockey League since reaching the Stanley Cup Finals series in back-to-back years at the end of the millennium. Back then, the Stars lifted the title in 1999 before coming up short the following year. However, they failed to build on their brief era of dominance and this is just the second time that Dallas have reached the playoffs in the last eight seasons. Can they go all the way and lift the Stanley Cup at the end of the grueling postseason? Only time will tell but they’re certainly good enough on current form.
Right now, the Stars are firing on all cylinders and Lindy Ruff’s side are looking strong ahead of the playoffs. Dallas won eight of their last ten regular season fixtures to ensure confidence will be high ahead of what could be a difficult seven-match series against the Minnesota Wild. As of April 11th, 32Red Canada price Dallas at 10/1 to win the Stanley Cup this season and, with a bit of luck, there’s no reason why the Stars cannot go all the way to the finals. After all, they’ve been one of the most impressive, exciting and consistent teams during the regular campaign.
Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have both been simply sensational throughout the regular season and are key reasons for Dallas’ prominent position in the push for the Stanley Cup. While the likes of the Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks both have impressive recent records in the NHL playoffs, the Stars can end the monopoly and win a second Stanley Cup if they perform at their best and tighten up defensively. Offensively, the Stars are one of the best sides in the league but they can be caught out at the back, especially with the inconsistent Antti Niemi in goal.
And although many Dallas supporters are pondering over Niemi or fellow goaltender Kari Lehtonen, it’s a no-brainer. It has to be Lehtonen. On his day, Niemi can be almost invincible but Lehtonen is the more reliable stopper and consistency is exactly what is needed in the playoffs. In a one-off game, it might be worth risking Niemi but when it matters most of all, Lehtonen has to start. In recent weeks, he has led Dallas to victories against the Kings, Blackhawks and the Nashville Predators which is no easy feat.
For Dallas to succeed in the postseason, they have to get the balance right. Offensively, the Stars have the potential to compete with the Kings, Blackhawks and the Washington Capitals – who finished the regular season with an astonishing 252 goals. Dallas ended with 267 goals. With Benn and Seguin in fine form, Stars supporters will fancy their chances of going the distance. In recent times, the Western Conference has been notoriously strong and it’s easy to assume the same again this season.
The Kings, Blackhawks and Stars are all set to battle it out to represent their conference in the Stanley Cup and at the time of writing you can back Dallas at 19/4 to do just that with both 32Red and Netbet. After all, the Stars are perhaps in the best form and anything can happen in the playoffs. One weakness is their lack of experience. Not only are Dallas a fairly young side, but many of their current crop of players haven’t featured in the postseason. The Stars have built up a strong rapport and team work ethic but it’s now time for their veterans to step up to the plate and earn their money.
The younger members of Dallas’ squad will need guidance and advice during the playoffs and the likes of Seguin, Niemi and Jordie Benn – Jamie’s older brother – will have to be at their very best to ensure the Stars have the best shot at the Stanley Cup. But with a bit of luck and a lot of preparation, there’s absolutely no reason why the Stars cannot win hockey’s most prestigious trophy this year after almost 20 years of waiting.