The Blues had won 5 of their last 7 games before falling to the Predators on Thursday night. St. Louis will be the fresh team, as the Stars traveled late last night to meet them after beating up on the Oilers 6-3 at American Airlines Center. Dallas is now actually closer to the #8 seed than the Blues by one point, but both teams need massive amounts of help and unprecedented levels of success if they are to get into the tournament.
Even so, it's amazing just how far you have to go to be mathematically eliminated. We keep saying it, and yet the Stars are still alive with only 4 games to play. They've still a less than 1% chance of getting that #8 seed, but it just won't go away, will it?
The last meeting between these two teams was a pivotal one for Dallas, helping to send them on their path of no return following the Olympic break. In just their second March game, the Blues decimated the Stars by a score of 6-1 in Dallas. The Stars beat them in St. Louis in October 4-1, and lost in a shootout the day before Thanksgiving, 4-3, giving them a 1-1-1 record against The Blues this year.
The puck drops 30 minutes earlier than usual on My27 tonight: 7:00pm at Scottrade Center.
After the jump, a surprise in net for the Stars?
Marc Crawford dropped a little bit of a surprise on the media after last night's win over the hapless Oilers, saying that Kari Lethonen just might start in goal on Saturday versus the Blues. He led reported to believe that might happen earlier in the week, and then Matt Climie was called up from the Texas Stars, leading to speculation that he might get the start in net in St. Louis.
Now Crawford indicates he might want to see how Lethonen does in back-to-back situations (a test for Lethonen's conditioning as well as his conditioners, perhaps?). We'll see.
The Mike Modano countdown continues tonight with only 4 games left in the year (and possibly his career.) He added two assist in the Stars 6-3 romp of the Oilers last night, one of which was his 800th career helper.
Only in Dallas can you score a hat trick one game and play on the fourth line the next. That's what Steve Ott did, as lines resembled this:
Benn-Modano-Lehtinen <<= A+ on Friday night.
When the refs weren't putting the Stars down a man, that is. No reason to think that's going to change, given the success of all four last night.
Will Woywitka be in instead of Matt Niskanen? I know what decision I would make, but I'm not the coach.
"We'll certainly have an open mind with Paul," Davidson said. "As far as the future goes, I can't say anything about that. We've got to assess who's available (in free agency), who's coming up from the minors, who's going to retire, who's not going to retire ... all that stuff.
"It's something we've talked about some. Certainly, it's not something you leave on the back burner and wait 'till June. But it's something we'll address a few weeks after the season."
The Blues are interested in signing a goal scorer this summer, and that could determine Kariya's future with the team. Kariya, 35, can no longer fill the role of a scoring threat, but if the top-level options are gone from the free-agent board, he may be a better choice.
The Blues must also keep an eye on the experience level of their roster. Keith Tkachuk is expected to retire after the season, which takes away one veteran from the dressing room.
Or he could, you know, just retire? Just a thought.
The Blues are hopeful that left winger Paul Kariya can resume skating as soon as today, after he left Tuesday's game against Chicago with an undisclosed lower-body injury.
"Hopefully, he'll be ready to go Saturday ... we'll see," Blues President John Davidson said. "Day to day actually means day to day. If not tomorrow, then you try the next day."
And please check out St. Louis Game Time. I would quote something of it here, but most of the language is a bit too racy for my mother (Hi, Mom). Still, they amuse us with their colorful style and Steve Ott hatred so go check them out.