Let's skip the "This is the third meeting between these two teams. Dallas won their last match up by a score of..." and get to the point. This will be their second meeting in slightly less than 24 hours and tensions were running a little high toward the end of last night's contest. A second dose will do little to ease them.
Heading into last night's contest we knew that the Stars were a good home team (8-3-1) and the Blues were a marginal road team (4-6-2) and form held with the Stars getting the victory. Unfortunately for Dallas fans the tables are turned tonight with the Blues having the strong home record (8-0-1) and the Stars having the many "challenges" on the road with which we're all very familiar.
Even with a 2-1 win in Ottawa on Wednesday night the Stars have scored a total of only 6 goals in their last 5 road contests and their road power play on the season is 1 for 31 (3.2%). Add these trends to the act that the Blues are unbeaten at home in regulation this year and the Stars are playing their third game in four nights and the hill appears to be a very, very steep climb tonight at 7:00pm on FSSW+.
Nevertheless the Stars have already guaranteed themselves no worse than a split with the speedy Blues this year who have given them fits for several seasons in a row now.
Marc Crawford was coy after the game about his lineup and starting net minder for the back to back. Could Severin Blindenbacher make his NHL debut?
Say what you will about Jeff Woywitka but he has contributed in a big way since Mark Fistric went down with a lower body injury this week. Big #44 is a plus three in two games, blocked a couple of shots last night, and played over 21 minutes for Marc Crawford.
Nick Grossman played only 19 and Matt Niskanen was unable to get to 11 minutes of ice time last night, so don't underestimate Woywitka's impact on two wins in a row. He may make you cringe when he handles the puck but he has represented himself nicely and is stating a case for continued on-ice representation as of this moment. It's all subject to change, of course.
Then again Crawford could opt for younger, fresher legs and insert Severin Blindenbacher into the lineup. The rookie was given ample time in pre-season in all situations and was one of the last prospects sent down to Cedar Park before the regular season began. His progress was good but a car accident side tracked the beginning of his season for the Texas Stars, limiting his games played. He missed nine games because of a concussion suffered in the crash.
Dallas has fewer options at forward as Krys Barch is out with a foot injury sustained Wednesday. The Stars could call someone up but the Texas Stars played last night as well. They'll have to contend with the speedy Blues on less than a days rest and hope the busy schedule slows them down a tick as well.
After shorthanded goals were tallied last night by both teams, you get the feeling the power plays will be a little more involved tonight. The Stars did the smart thing on Friday, surrendering only one power play to the Blues, but if I had to guess I'd say Saturday will be a little more contentious and the PIM's could stack up. The Stars beleaguered special teams could use a boost to extend the two game win streak to three.
Dallas split two meetings in St. Louis last season.
Marc Crawford wouldn't say who would be in goal. Kari Lehtonen was good in the third period tonight but the second goal allowed off the faceoff was not a good one. His rebound control was not great and he was a little more "scrambly" than usual to my eyes. With another game coming quick on Monday I wouldn't mind seeing Raycroft in this spot tonight. He's stopped 100 of 106 shots seen this season.
That's it. You know these guys. They know our guys. Let's get it on again tonight on FS SW+.