Blues advance beyond the first round of playoffs

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Omar Baig

Blues fans wait for Blues playoff hockey.

The St. Louis Blues have finally accomplished a feat that they have failed to do for the past three seasons: getting through the first round of the playoffs. The team that they defeated was not only their rival but also the defending Stanley Cup champions Chicago Blackhawks.

Considering the Blues havent advanced to the second round of playoffs in four years, it was huge to win this series, senior Grace Goedde said. Beating the Blackhawks makes the win even more important.

The next round of competition for the Blues to get past is against the Dallas Stars, the teams that led the Western Conference in points with 109 and a record of 50-23-9. Brad Shaw, the former NHL player and current associate coach for the Blues, is confident that if the Blues play the same way as they did against the Blackhawks, they will get past the Stars.

We need to continue to play our game: aggressive, attacking hockey that finishes at their net as often as possible, Shaw said. We need to execute with the puck to stay ahead of their checking as well as outwork them for the puck and we have to keep finding new heroes on the team each night.

Dallas currently possesses both the second and fourteenth top scorers in the NHL, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, respectively. Benn finished the season with 89 points in 82 games (41 goals, 48 assists); Seguin, with 73 points in 72 games (33 goals, 40 assists). Seguin was third in the NHL in scoring before an injury to his Achilles heel occurred in the later part of the regular season, which will hold him off the ice for the first games of the series.

Dallas led the league in goals scored in the regular season, even without Seguin, Shaw said. They present a challenge with their speed and skill while their defense is continually trying to join the attack so we will need good awareness and effort to deny that.

For the second round, the Stars have home-ice advantage against the Blues. However, Blues fans like junior Tyler Hannegan are not worried about that.

I dont think the home-ice advantage will matter so much because the teams so far in the playoffs have won games on the road, Hannegan said. I think the Blues will be fine without home team advantage and will win in five games.

Game one between the Stars and the Blues is on Friday, April 29 at 7:00 p.m.