The St. Louis Blues will play in the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2016 and will play either the Colorado Avalanche or San Jose Sharks after a seven-game win against the Dallas Stars in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Blues, who defeated the Winnipeg Jets in a six-game first round, defeated the Stars 2-1 in double-overtime in Game 7 when St. Louis-born forward Pat Maroon scored the winning goal. They rallied from down 3-2 in a best-of-7 series for the first time since 1999, when they defeated the Phoenix Coyotes in the conference quarterfinal in seven games.

Here are 5 reasons the Blues advanced:

 

1. Grind game

When the Blues were chipping pucks in, going on the forecheck, cycling pucks in the offensive zone and not allowing the Stars to transition plays out of their zone with speed, St. Louis had success and was able to dictate play.

The Blues are built to grind and forecheck their opponent and not make mistakes with the puck. Dallas is more of a speed team that seemed to lose its momentum as the series progressed.

In the games the Stars won, they had multiple odd-man rushes and thrived off St. Louis turnovers. When the Blues won, puck possession was paramount.