DALLAS—The captain and the kid are going to the Western Conference final with the St. Louis Blues.
St. Louis did more than survive Game 7 this time. The Blues routed the top-seeded Dallas Stars 6-1 last night to advance to their first Western Conference final since 2001.
Robby Fabbri, their 20-year-old rookie centre, became the youngest player in NHL history to score three points in a Game 7, with a goal and two assists, while captain David Backes added a goal and an assist.
“The way we feel here, we know we’ve got a good team,” said Paul Stastny.
“And we know every time we’re challenged, we’ve kind of risen up to it,” he added.
Blues’ linemates Fabbri, Stastny, and Troy Brouwer each had a goal and two assists last night.
“Nice short plays, and we buried our opportunities,” Brouwer noted.
“We talked before the game that we wanted to be the difference in this game tonight, and I feel like we made a good impact,” he added.
The Blues—in the playoffs for the 40th time and still in search of their first Stanley Cup—will have home-ice advantage in the Western Conference final against Nashville or San Jose.
The Predators and Sharks play their deciding Game 7 tonight.
Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored to help the Blues win for the third time on the road in the series.
Tarasenko’ seventh goal of the playoffs was an empty-netter with 4:40 to go.
Patrick Eaves had the lone goal for Dallas, which matched its most lopsided playoff loss.
The Stars also lost 6-1 in Game 3 of the series.
“A huge disappointment,” said coach Lindy Ruff. “We had good energy, but it’s a tough way to end.
“It’s not our team.
“Even when we started pushing, we missed too many good opportunities to get back in it,” Ruff added.
“But it’s not the ending you want; it’s a big disappointment.”
It was the fourth-straight game in the series (and fifth overall) won by the visiting team, and a lopsided finish to a second-round series matching the Western Conference’s top two teams in the regular season.
Coach Ken Hitchcock’s Blues only were two points behind Dallas in the regular-season standings for the top seed.
St. Louis also went seven games to win its first-round series this post-season—beating the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Brouwer’s winning goal in the clincher at home.
In this Game 7, the Blues were in firm control after the first period—even after having a goal taken off the board because of a replay challenge by Dallas.
Brian Elliott was back in goal for the Blues and had 31 saves.
He had been pulled late in the first period of Game 6 after giving up three goals in seven shots, and Dallas held on to win that 3-2 to set up their first Game 7 at home since 2000.
“I know in this dressing room there was no question who we were going to turn to, and he’s our guy,” Brouwer said of Elliott.
“He was phenomenal for us, and we’re going to have to ride a couple more times throughout the course of these playoffs,” he noted.
“But he’s a guy that we could rely on.”