Dallas Stars

3 things to watch in Dallas Stars vs. St. Louis Blues Game 1

The Dallas Stars open the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs with Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues at 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Enterprise Center.

The Stars won three of four of the meetings this season, all of which came after the first of the year, when the Blues started to turn their season around. Dallas won the last meeting on March 2, with Jamie Benn scoring three goals and John Klingberg scoring once and adding two assists. The Stars took a 2-0 lead with two goals late in the first period.

Three things to watch in Game 1:

1. Who’s hotter?

Both the Blues and the Stars have been playing their best hockey the past several months. St. Louis went 23-6-4 after the Jan. 26 All-Star Game and won 11 consecutive games from Jan. 23 to Feb. 19. The Stars finished the regular season going 14-7-2 after snapping a three-game losing streak on Feb. 21. In the first round, both teams kept the momentum going. The Blues beat the Winnipeg Jets in six games, while the Stars beat the Nashville Predators in six.

2. Nasty at the net

Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington started 30 games after being recalled from San Antonio, of the American Hockey League, on Jan. 5. He led the NHL with a 1.89 goal against average. Stars goalie Ben Bishop was second with 1.98 in 45 starts. He allowed six goals in a Game 3 loss at home but rebounded to hold Winnipeg to six goals across the final three games. Bishop is one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, which honors the league’s top goalie. Like Binnington, Bishop regrouped after allowing two soft goals in a Game 3 loss at home to hold the Predators to four goals across the final three games.

3. Silence the Blues

Nothing would be better for the Stars than to get off to a good start early in Game 1. That’s something they struggled to do against the Predators in the first round. The Blues are doing what they can to get their already vocal fan base ramped up. They’ve partnered with PixMob to design a pregame light show that will include the fans. They’re asking fans to arrive no later than 8:15 p.m. to take part in the pregame hype session. They’ll each have a digitally-synced wristband on their seat. The bands are programmed to part of the pregame rally. They’re encouraged to have their wristbands on and their rally towels waving “in a show of St. Louis pride and unison behind our,” according to a press release.

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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.