Two rookie phenoms get the first crack at each other for the first time in their NHL careers. Elias Pettersson and Miro Heiskanen were both selected in the top five in the 2017 NHL Draft. And both have proven why they belonged there. Pettersson leads all rookies in points, and Heiskanen leads all rookies in ice time. Both have just been sensational and have fulfilled the needs of their team.
Heiskanen isn’t the only rookie defenceman that has surprised Stars fans. Gavin Bayreuther has stepped up and delivered as a top-four defenceman. Dallas is gonna need these two to continue their pace as the Canucks contain a lot of speed with Boeser, Horvat, and of course Pettersson. However, the Canucks have kind of fallen off their high horse and back towards reality. A month ago they were leading the division and now are barely battling for a wild card sot. But that’s what happens when your best players are all below 24 years and inexperienced.
The Stars, on the other hand, are one of the older teams in the league and have stayed steady around the first wild-card spot. Benn, Seguin, and Klingberg are all 26 and above. And they have been known as some of the best of their positions for the past few years. However, the past few matches between these teams the Stars have struggled offensively. The Stars scored a total of two goals in as many games last year. One of those was an OT win and the other an embarrassing 6-0 defeat in Dallas. The Stars will need those big boys to appear this time if they want to keep the Stars from being outplayed.
This game will probably come down to goaltending once again as Ben Bishop is expected to return. Khudobin played wonderfully in the absence of Bishop, but there’s no doubt that the Stars play better with Bishop. They have missed his ability to play the puck and push it up ice. Nothing against Khudobin, but Bishop is a rare breed in terms of goaltender puck handling. It will finally help out the Stars offense as they get more defensive help to get the puck out of their zone.
Lastly, the Stars say hello to a fan favorite. The Frenchman, Antoine Roussel, gets to play against his former pals for the first time in his career. Stars fans surely miss Antoine, but not for his play, but rather his character. Blake Comeau has been a good replacement for Antoine and spends so much less time on the ice than in the penalty box. However, we still miss Antoine and it’ll be interesting to see him on the ice with Dallas, just in a different colored uniform.
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