Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Calgary Flames vs. Dallas Stars
We're blessed this season with a number of first-round matchups between evenly-matched contenders, squads with almost equal claim to a deep playoff run going to head-to-head with perfectly complementary strengths and weaknesses. This is not one such series.
While the Dallas Stars have an outside chance to take down the Calgary Flames in this seven-game series, it's an exceptionally slim one and would require a total takeover by the team's one functional forward line and a rookie goaltender.
Calgary boasts star power, depth, a versatile attack, speed, physicality, playmaking, scoring, a sturdy system that has been proven to win Cups, and a veteran goaltender who has played at a high level this season. Dallas boasts one amazing line, an elite young defenceman, and that's about it.
But these are the Stanley Cup playoffs where anything can happen. So let's explore this matchup and work out what to expect.
My playoff previews are stats-based, going off of both macro- and micro-level statistics gathered by TopDownHockey and AllThreeZones respectively. This allows us to look not only at high-level results (like goals, shots, and expected goals) but also at the stylistic process that creates them (like passes, shot types, and transition play) to get a better sense of how the teams match up. Instead of comparing offence to offence and defence to defence, I'll be breaking down the offence vs. defence matchups.
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