Who prevails as Blues-Stars shifts to Texas?
St. Louis had every opportunity to push Dallas to the brink of elimination. The Western Conference’s top seed leaned on a surprising element, however, to stay very much alive in the second round: its goaltending.
On the heels of Thursday’s rock-solid, Kari Lehtonen aims for another impressive performance in today’s Game 5. The series shifts back to Texas at 1 p.m. ET, with handicappers at online sports book Bovada.lv giving the home team odds of -125 to assume control of the matchup. As for the Blues, they’re considered +105 underdogs.
Ken Hitchcock’s club used a Vladimir Tarasenko tally to go up early two nights ago, but couldn’t slam the door. The Stars capitalized on several St. Louis turnovers in the second period, surging in front 2-1 after 40 minutes. While Paul Stastny temporarily tied the proceedings, Cody Eakin potted the game-winner almost as soon as overtime commenced.
Perhaps most importantly, Lehtonen provided stable netminding for Lindy Ruff. Dallas’ coach likely doesn’t have to resort to his musical-chairs-in-goal routine on account of the 32-year-old’s 24-save display. It was an entirely necessary development in light of the 6-1 trouncing that unfolded in Game 3.
Now, we’re presented with a semifinal knotted at two contests apiece. Even though the Blues are 0-4 in Game 5s since 2012, the squad has to be optimistic with Tarasenko’s play of late. The winger boasts two goals and three assists in the past two tilts. Can Jamie Benn (14 postseason points) upstage him? That’s only one of many narratives to monitor in what should be a thoroughly gripping matinee affair.
SATURDAY NHL FREE PICK: BLUES/STARS UNDER 5 GOALS