(Photo: Jerome Miron / USA Today Sports)
Dallas, TX – The St. Louis Blues look to continue making history, seeking a 12th consecutive win in American Airlines Center against their division rival Dallas Stars. The Blues (32-22-5) will meet the Stars (29-25-5) for the third of four meetings this season, trading road wins in the previous matchups. The Blues’ 11-game winning streak, a franchise record and the highest in the NHL this season, has propelled them from dead-last in the League to a solidified third place position in the Central Division. Meanwhile, the Stars look to gain 4 points up on the same spot, holding the top wild card spot in the Western Conference, 6 points behind St. Louis.
Arguably the hottest team in the League for the moment, the Blues won one of their toughest meetings in February against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday, winning 3-2 in overtime to win a franchise-record 11th consecutive victory. “We knew this was going to be a tough game; it’s a good team [in Toronto],” coach Craig Berube told the media afterward. “The credit goes to the players. They’re the guys that made the record and went out and played the game and did the job. It’s on them.” Meanwhile, the Stars couldn’t shine at home, after allowing two goals in the third saw them falling to the Nashville Predators 3-5. “We played with a lot of effort, we’re doing a lot of great things, [but] we’re getting away from what our identity is, though… that, ultimately, is costing us.” Said coach Jim Montgomery after the loss. “We got to get back to who we are if we want to close out games.” The Stars have struggled this past week, dropping their last three games and being outscored 14-3, posting a 5-4-1 in their last ten.
The Blues have gone a perfect 8-0-0 in their last eight road games, but the Stars have beaten the Blues in their house the last eleven games straight. That could change with the help of Blues’ netminders Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen, who have allowed only 16 goals (2nd fewest in NHL) in this winning streak, posted four shutouts, a .947 SV%, and earned rookie Binnington 9 consecutive wins, the tenth in NHL history to accomplish such a feat (Numbers courtesy of Tom Timmerman – STL Today). Though his 12-game point streak was snapped on Tuesday, Vladimir Tarasenko will look to continue his red-hot level of play, putting up 10 points in his last 5 contests. His partner, Ryan O’Reilly, has also been a major contribution to the Blues’ major success, scoring the OT winner in Toronto and extending his team-leading points total to 23-38-61. The Blues will be short-staffed on the front line, however, with Brayden Schenn sustaining an upper-body injury Tuesday against Toronto.
The top lines for the Stars have also been offensively clicking, with Tyler Seguin leading the charge with 25-30-55. Alexander Radulov is right behind him with a team-high 31 assists, and rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen continues to impress with 25 points in his freshman season. Winger Jamie Benn could also get his partner Blake Comeau back this evening after Comeau was sidelined with an upper-body injury; they have combined for 67 points this season. Goaltender Ben Bishop (19-12-2) is expected to return to the lineup after recovering from his injuries but is unlikely to start in tonight’s matchup, giving the start to Anton Khudobin (10-13-3).
The puck drops at American Airlines Center at 7:30 CT. Full coverage of tonight’s game is provided by:
STL: FSMW, KMOX, NHL.tv
DAL: FSSW, Ticket 1310, NHL.tv
17 Schwartz 90 O’Reilly 91 Tarasenko
18 Thomas 21 Bozak 20 Steen
7 Maroon 70 Sundqvist 12 Sanford
15 Fabbri 49 Barbashev 62 MacEachern
27 Pietrangelo 6 Edmundson
55 Parayko 19 Bouwmeester
41 Bortuzzo 29 Dunn
Goaltender: 50 Binnington
47 Radulov 91 Seguin 13 Janmark
15 Comeau 12 Faksa 14 Benn
17 Cogliano 90 Spezza 43 Nichushkin
25 Ritchie 24 Hintz 34 Gurianov
3 Klingberg 23 Lindell
45 Polak 4 Heiskanen
42 Fedun 2 Oleksiak
Goaltender: 35 Khudobin
10 Schenn (upper body)
57 Perron (upper body)