The heart-stopping, gut-punching, throat-clutching, edge-of-your-seat postseason that is the NHL Playoffs begins tonight in Dallas when the Stars drop the puck on the Minnesota Wild. The chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup is an excruciating and exhilarating journey and by far the greatest season of all the seasons. There is no faster sport played – not even close. There’s nothing as hard-hitting – no way. And no other sport has a true sudden death overtime. This is it – the most exciting and unpredictable drama there is on TV. And my hopes are high for the guys wearing Victory Green.
Dallas begins the second season with 108 points, their best record in seven years, in a Western Conference playoff field crowded with six other teams boasting at least 100 points. It’s tight. But the Stars seem to have the advantage in all the key areas. They have the highest goal differential in the conference, they’re number five in the NHL on the power play and number three on the penalty kill, and they’re red hot, having won six straight and eight of their last nine.
Jason Robertson broke Mike Modano’s single season scoring record this year while Miro Heiskanen broke Sergei Zubov’s franchise scoring mark for a defenseman. Jake Oettinger won 37 games, anybody on this team can score, and they’re all healthy.
Last year Calgary broke our hearts with the Game Seven win over the Stars in the first round. It was all over in a flash, faster than anyone expected. Three years ago Dallas inexplicably made it all the way to the Finals, losing in six games to Tampa Bay. This year’s squad has the perfect blend of wily playoff veterans and quick young snipers, hard-nosed defense and wide open offense, the best combined special teams in the league and a 24-year-old stud of a goalie with a 92% save percentage. I see Dallas beating Colorado in a game seven in the second round and all of it boiling down to a game seven against Edmonton in the Western Conference Finals, reminding all of us of those Stanley Cup glory days in ’99 and 2000.
First team to 16 wins gets the Cup. And it starts tonight. Go Stars.
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