The first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs starts today and the Blackout Dallas Writing staff has some predictions on how the Dallas Stars are going to do. Some of us have the Stars winning in five games while others have them winning in 6. Take a look at our staff predictions below.
Mahima Masih, Blackout Dallas Contributor: Dallas Stars in 6
The Dallas Stars will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the 2023 playoffs and I still don’t know what a “wild” is. But what I do know is that this team is good. The Stars have found a way to inject youth (hello Wyatt Johnston’s 24 goals) while having a veteran resurgence (did you know Jamie Benn was practically a point-a-game player).
The team had six players hit the 20-goal mark this season. Jason Robertson crossed the 100-point threshold. Miro Heiskanen was given the freedom to thrive and doubled his point total from previous years. A seasoned playoffs performer, I can only imagine that he’ll elevate his game in the postseason again.
The Stars had a 2-0-2 record against the Wild this season. And there is no 3-on-3 overtime or shootouts in the playoffs, which should hopefully work in the Star’s favor.
Younger players like Robertson and Jake Oettinger have had a taste of the playoffs. Oettinger has shown he is completely capable of carrying his team even though the Stars’ defense is lacking, which will be a weakness Minnesota will try to exploit. I believe the Dallas Stars will beat the Wild in six games.
Nick Lacoste, Blackout Dallas Contributor: Dallas Stars in 5
The Dallas Stars can beat the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. There are two core areas to Minnesota’s success: speed and physical play. When watching the Minnesota Wild, players like Kirill Kaprizov are all over the ice, playing ‘positionless hockey’ and trying to confuse opponents’ defensive systems and cause breakdowns to score smart goals from open areas.
Further down their lineup, Minnesota boasts speed from players like Connor Dewar and the ultimate aggression and physicality from players like Brandon Duhaime, Ryan Reaves, and Marcus Foligno. Minnesota could wear down smaller, younger players physically while also out-cycling and out-skating defensemen in dangerous areas.
However, Dallas can succeed by controlling the shooting game. Minnesota tends to resort to poor-quality shots if they can’t cycle their way to a net-front chance, and their unimpressive shot metrics from the regular season show that an accurate shooting team like Dallas could triumph quite easily over the Wild.
The Minnesota Wild do not concede many goals and they have a great Penalty Kill, but I do not see this series being a ‘goalie battle’. Dallas Stars forwards will set the tone for this series by shooting with a purpose and playing with energy. That’s why the Stars should wrap this up in five games.
Caleb Garrison, Blackout Dallas Contributor: Dallas Stars in 6
When playoff propositions first came about this year, an early bout against Minnesota seemed as likely as a draw with Seattle and Colorado. This series is in between those best and worst-case scenarios, as Minnesota is fairly evenly matched with Dallas on paper.
The past two years have shown a top line that can compete with the best, as Zuccarrello and Kaprizov play wing to either Ryan Hartman or Joel Erikson Ek for a top-notch offensive trio. Kaprizov is their Robo, winning the Calder last year and facilitating a majority of the team’s playmaking. However, they mirror the Stars of last year more than this year.
The team isn’t as defensively strong down the middle without Erikson Ek at full health. I imagine he’ll play a majority of the series but being hampered by injury will slow his capabilities. The headline of their depth is their deadline acquisitions of Gus Nyquist, Marcus Johansen, & John Klingberg.
Each player seems to come alive during the playoffs and was acquired to do so. The Stars will have to fight through the “Grit First” mantra Minnesota is looking to embody with these new pieces in round one.
Beyond the grit, talent, and skill leans heavily in the Star’s favor this first round. Personnel leans toward Dallas and so do the circumstances to end the season. The Stars are 6-0 since the Harley call-up, and Minnesota has had a spotty finish to the regular season.
Moreover, home ice was important for the Stars as a team, and for that I see them hopping out to a 2-0 lead in the series before exchanging games to close it. Give me the Dallas Stars in 6 games, as we’ll be frustrated if they lose game 5 on home ice just to close it out in Minnesota. Afterward, it’ll be time to head westward for the next matchup.
Brian Sweet, Blackout Dallas Site Expert: Dallas Stars in 5
The main reason I have the Stars in 5 is just the amount of scoring talent they have throughout their 4 lines. You have Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, and Jason Robertson on the top line. On the second line, you have Max Domi and Tyler Seguin. Don’t forget the Captain, Jamie Benn, and emerging superstar Wyatt Johnston on the third line. It’s like the Wild are trying to defend the state of Minnesota from an oncoming train with no brakes.
However, I expect the Wild to give it their all in trying to slow down this offense with players like Duhaime, Reeves, and Foligno. They also have some good offensive players in Kaprizov, Hartman, and Zuccarrello. Erikson Ek not being in tip-top shape is going to give the Stars’ defense some relief but not much. Oettinger needs to keep his eyes on the puck at all times when they are in the Star’s zone. These are very sneaky with the puck and they like to surprise goaltenders from behind the net to score goals.
With all of that to be considered, that’s why I have the Stars winning in five games. The fact that the Star’s offense is one of the best in the league. Also, the Minnesota Wild are licking their wounds right now with injured players such as Erikson Ek. Finally, the Stars have one of the best goaltenders in the league right now coming into the playoffs. I feel like this is one Texas Hockey train that the Wild will fail to stop in time.