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Esa Lindell's Goal Guides Stars Past Blues for Game 5 Win, 3-2 Series Lead

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 4, 2019

Dallas Stars players Jamie Benn (14), John Klingberg (3), of Sweden, and Alexander Radulov (47), of Russia, celebrate after a goal by Esa Lindell against the St. Louis Blues during the second period in Game 5 of an NHL second-round hockey playoff series Friday, May 3, 2019, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Jason Spezza and Esa Lindell each scored goals as the Dallas Stars beat the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in Game 5 of their NHL Western Conference Semifinal playoff series on Friday.

Dallas goaltender Ben Bishop made 38 saves. Jaden Schwartz scored the lone goal for the Blues, who fell behind 3-2 in the best-of-seven series.

Lindell's game-winning goal at 6:13 of the second period turned out to be the difference:

NHL @NHL

That's career #StanleyCup Playoff goal No. 1 for Esa Lindell! 🇺🇸📺: https://t.co/03Bu8ohRTU @NBCSN 🇨🇦📺: https://t.co/eVCyWTbCNm @Sportsnet https://t.co/dpTxpxUcN6

Lindell couldn't have picked a much better time for his first career playoff goal, and that score helped cap a sensational opening 40 minutes for the Stars. The Point provided statistics explaining why, noting Dallas' edge in slot shots and rush-scoring chances:

The Point @ThePointHockey

As has been the case much of the series, the Blues are controlling the zone time but the Stars are generating great chances off-the-rush and winning the shot quality battle. Dallas 20 minutes away from taking a 3-2 series lead home. #GoStars #STLBlues #Playoffs https://t.co/ZjiUlGnOiQ

Quality chances were a prevalent Stars theme, and Spezza took advantage of his after Tyler Seguin found him in front of the net for the game-opening goal at 2:42 of the first period:

NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports

The @DallasStars strike first in St. Louis. #DALvsSTL here: https://t.co/TUZYHseSQE https://t.co/jvqm7tINQh

Spezza has been the story of this series: He's scored three goals against the Blues after having not found the net since Feb. 24, which covered a 20-game stretch including playoffs. 

On the other end, Bishop did his part to give the Stars a 3-2 series edge. He's been lights-out in the playoffs and has done particularly well on the road historically, per Sportsnet Stats:

Sportsnet Stats @SNstats

Lowest road GAA in #StanleyCup Playoffs history since 1943-44 Patrick Lalime: 1.77 Mike Smith: 1.78 #GoStars Ben Bishop: 1.81 Gerry McNeil: 1.83 (minimum 10 GP) https://t.co/aVvHgGWdLd

The netminder also came through with the save of the series on Oskar Sundqvist with 4:15 left in the game:

NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports

. @Benbishop30 is a Vezina Finalist for a reason! BiG Save. https://t.co/IWd5vLqMGa

If not for an accidental giveaway that led to Schwartz's goal at 8:26 of the third, Bishop may have earned his first shutout of the playoffs:

NHL on NBC @NHLonNBCSports

Here. Come. The. @StLouisBlues. We have a ONE goal game. Stream it here: https://t.co/TUZYHseSQE https://t.co/JyLSaRmEVv

 

Still, the Vezina Trophy finalist has been phenomenal in the playoffs thanks to a 2.13 GAA.

Dallas will host St. Louis on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET for Game 6. NBC will televise the matchup.

A Stars win will send them to the Western Conference Final, where they would face the San Jose Sharks or Colorado Avalanche. A Dallas loss would bring the series back to St. Louis for Game 7 on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

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