DALLAS - If winning the Stanley Cup playoffs was about talent, it wasBoston Bruinswould prepare for game 3. Instead of the regular season winning team inNHLhistory was defeated in the first round by a team that only earned a spot in the Big Dance in the last few days of the season. Talent is important, but every team in the playoffs has talent to some degree. Attributes are what separate teams right now.
Adaptability is near the top of the list of attributes that teams strive for. Through their first eight games of the postseasonStarsappear to have as good a chance of winning the Cup in June. Their ability to adapt is therefore.
Interestingly, the Stars didn't have to make much of an adjustment during the regular season. They came into training camp and had to adjust to a new head coach and system, but there was plenty of time for that in the months leading up to the regular season. From the start of the regular season to the day it endedBlues, the Stars were one of the healthiest teams in the league.
When things went south, like the power play for a few months to start 2023, the approach was not to adapt to new setups or philosophical tweaks. It was the opposite. The coaching staff preached patience and opted for consistency.
The regular season offers that opportunity. You can try to get through tough times by stealing a game here or hoping for an outside result there. You can find the silver lining in points lost and talk about how each team goes through a dry spell or a tough game. It's not the end of the world. There is plenty of time. There is no time in the playoffs. Four losses in 10 days and the concern goes from late puck drop times to tee times.
The Stars' postseason began with perhaps their most reliable player suddenly out for nearly an entire series.Joe Pavelski, who hadn't missed a game since before the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19, was dropped in the second period of the first game againstWild. When he was missing, the key to the top power play unit was gone, a key cog to the top line and a 'top' leader in the dressing room.
Pavelski has always been considered by the Stars as one of their most indispensable players, and on one night, Dallas had to adjust to his absence while also shifting his approach to the physical, aggressive style that brought the Wild to the ice .
After the Stars defeated the Kraken in Game 2, Pete DeBoer and Tyler Seguin were confused.
The redemption? Wyatt Johnston.
"I don't understand why he wasn't nominated for the Calder."
"I don't know what they eat in the Pavelski household..."
Johnston skinner barehttps://t.co/vVNXRFstnU
— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126)5. maj 2023
Dallas responded in Game 2 against Minnesota with its best scoring performance of the postseason, clearly showing the adjustments needed. The Stars got a hat trick from Pavelski's linemateRupee Hintzand a good round of Pavelski's line changeTyler Seguinand scored three power play goals to combat Minnesota's aggressiveness.
After the Wild responded and "hit" the Stars in Game 3, as coach Pete DeBoer described it, they adjusted again in Game 4, this time to the hostile road environment. Not only did they win three straight games to shut out the Wild in six games, but also had arguably their best, most complete game of the series in the final Game 6, which showed how quickly they adapted to the Wild and then applied their talent to complete the job.
In game 1 modkraken, Pavelski made a historic attempt to get back in the lineup, but it wasn't enough for a Stars win. The Kraken played a very different kind of hockey than what the Stars had become accustomed to in the first round.
"The biggest adjustment between Seattle and (Minnesota) is just the speed of the game," Seguin said in his weekly appearance on 96.7 FM The Ticket in Dallas. “Minnesota was definitely a very tough series, with a lot of penalties and a lot of arguing and chirping. Seattle is a team that is just fast. So quick on the pre-check and everyone was pretty honest. We knew it was coming, but it still surprised us a little bit in Game 1, just how they're playing. You often don't know who the first or fourth line is. It's a tight-knit team and they play into it like that. The biggest adjustment, I would say, is the speed of the team.”
Going into Game 2 against the Kraken on Thursday, the challenge felt like an amalgamation of what the Stars went through in the series against the Wild. From Game 1 to Game 2 against the Wild, the Stars had to adjust to their opponent's style of play, and from Game 3 to Game 4, they had to adjust to a poor performance with essentially the same lineup. DeBoer made no lineup changes from Game 1 against the Kraken to Game 2, essentially showing confidence and challenging his group to step things up. He didn't want to make big changes because change wasn't what the group needed.
"It wasn't one man," DeBoer said. "I think everybody was out for probably half of it (Game 1). We're not planning to make any major changes based on what we've had success with throughout the year or during the first round. Now there's maybe a point in the playoffs where you have to, but we're not there yet. We're confident that our group and this group will be up to the task here."
While the stars from top to bottom have adjusted well, the players deserve most of the credit. The difference in styles between the Wild and Kraken wasn't hard to see, and as Seguin mentioned, it was something the Stars were well aware of before the puck dropped in Game 1. But handling it on the ice is different than handling it. to speak. , regardless of whether the speakers are in the coaching staff, in the media or in the stands. In the first round, the Stars players took the punishment from the Wild and rose to fight back, primarily on the power play. In the second round, they did the same with the Kraken's pace.
"We were looking for an answer and I knew we were going to get one," DeBoer said. "That's our game. We knew we didn't play our game long enough in the first game. We still had some chances to win in extra time, but we wanted to make sure we settled for 60 minutes (Thursday night ), and I thought we got that from everyone. … We knew we had to be more physical. I thought we did that in the third period and overtime in Game 1, and we started to have success with that with. But we haven't done it long enough. We wanted to make sure we did it all night.
The players have also shown that they can adapt to adversity, not only externally but internally as well. Pavelski's loss to the Wild could have rattled the team, but Seguin stepped up in such a way that he kept his spot on the top line even after Pavelski's return. As a result, the Stars now have an extra weapon in Seguin, as Pavelski is his signature big self and has scored five goals in less than seven periods since his return.
"I think every summer of my career I was out there making one-shots every day. Last summer, and especially this year, it was more net-front, tip-in practice all over the net, getting to the greasy spots , get your shit out of your ass.
It pays offhttps://t.co/lmmLSUQ6Zc
— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126)28 april 2023
The stars are also adapting to score goalswithout the usual contributionsVanJason Robertson. At some point, the Stars' young forward will find his game in the playoffs, and the result will be a more complete scoring arsenal for the Stars.
Not the starschangewho they have to cater to Wild or Kraken. But they adapted to their circumstances before focusing on what they are good at. Teams that make deep runs in the playoffs have that trait and can quickly figure it out. The stars have shown that they are capable of this.
(Foto af Tyler Seguin: Tony Gutierrez / Associated Press)