Blues forward Jaden Schwartz (17) tries to work around the Stars defenders in front of goaltender Ben Bishop (30). (Photo courtesy: Glenn James, Getty Images)
2/21: Blues/Stars, American Airlines Center, 7:30pm CT – FSMW, ESPN 101.1
DALLAS – It’s the second half of a back-to-back for the St. Louis Blues (34-17-10) as they quickly move from Missouri to Texas to take on the Dallas Stars (35-19-6). The Blues defense has been stellar the last two games, as they took back to back home shutouts, beating the Coyotes 1-0 last night.
The Blues have allowed a combined 31 shots in the last two games, while Anntti Raanta was otherworldly, making 45 saves on 46 shots last night for Arizona. Ryan O’Reilly scored the only goal of the game after 52 minutes of scoreless play.
“We’re paying pretty good attention to the details of the game and not so much worried about the outcome,” O’Reilly said. “Kind of investing in the game the right way, the way we talk, the way we track, the little details.”
With two wins under the belt, the Blues look to get something going in the back-to-back, after taking down a lowly, rebuilding team first and a tired team second. “I think New Jersey, we caught them on their heels,” O’Reilly said, “and tonight, we caught [Arizona] tired. We played the games the right way and that’s something we’ll continue to be consistent with.”
The Stars also defeated the Coyotes in their last game, winning 3-2 thanks to a late goal by Jamie Oleksiak. “Regardless of what the shots (41) tell you, it’s the scoring chances that are more important,” interim coach Rick Bowness said. “If the shot totals and scoring chances are up, we have issues. If they’re shooting from the outside, our goaltender will give them that all day.”
The Blues and Stars meet for the third of five meetings in February, wrapping up the season series on the 29th. St. Louis is 2-0-1 against the Stars this season, losing on February 8th in overtime.
No Suspension for Benn
The talk of the Stars-Coyotes game on Wednesday was Jamie Benn’s hit on captain Oliver Ekman-Larsson, which leveled OEL to the ice and drew a major penalty and game misconduct. However, the NHL Player Safety Organization deemed no supplemental discipline on Ben, no fines or suspensions.
The verdict has significant impact on tonight’s game – Jamie Benn scored a hat traick against Carolina but has one point in his last four games. Considering he scored 5 goals on the Blues last year, not including playoffs, his impact alongside of Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg will be a huge stopping point for the Blues tonight.
Ryan O’Reilly’s game-winning goal ended his 8-game goal drought… Colton Parayko registered 7 shots last night, bringing his shot total against Arizona to 15… The Blues road powerplay ranks 3rd in the league (25.3%)
The Blues and Stars face off at American Airlines Center tonight at 8:30pm CT. St. Louis plays on Fox Sports Midwest and ESPN 101.1, with streaming on Fox Sports GO.
PROJECTED LINEUPS (Based on yesterday’s skaters)
Schwartz – O’Reilly – Schenn
Sanford – Thomas – Perron
Steen – Bozak – Kyrou
Barbashev – Sundqvist – Blais
Gunnarsson – Pietrangelo
Scandella – Parayko
Dunn – Faulk