The Dallas Stars closed their preseason against these St. Louis Blues in 2009 in Marc Crawford's first year as head coach. The game was thought to be a good challenge as the Blues were off to Europe just after and were considering it to be a real "dress rehearsal" game. As such the Stars took it seriously, and were sent on their rather handily anyway way by a tune of 5-0 against on American Airlines Center ice. When I think "finishing the preseason against the Blues," I think back to what was a pretty thorough beating that day.
Today will be a little different. The Stars enter this last preseason game with Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, Brenden Morrow and Adam Burish unable to play and with backup netminders Andrew Raycroft and Richard Bachman minding the twine. They also enter it with a 5-1 record, having out-scored opponents 25-14, not to mention they swept the St. Louis Blues 4-0 last season, for whatever that's worth.
Whatever transpires today, the main goal might be to keep an eye on that backup netminder situation, keep an eye on the guys who will wind up in Austin for potential call ups this year, and most of all: Keep everyone healthy. Training camp has been a big success so far, and a long week of practice awaits. Just stay healthy heading into next Friday.
For the Blues, who are holding a "Fanfest" extravaganza before the game today for their season ticket holder base, the tone might be a little different, wanting to put on a good show in front of the home crowd. Don't be surprised to see a lop sided result today, and try not to think much of it if you do.
More after the jump...
With the aforementioned absences of Eriksson, Benn, Morrow and Burish, it leaves little in the way of continuity and cohesion when compared to what's expected to open the regular season. Lines on Thursday were these...
Some of those combinations will remain the same, and some others will see time like Jake Dowell and Eric Godard, presumably. On defense I would expect that Robidas will not play his fourth in a row, and that Adam Pardy and Sheldon Souray will see time as a tune up for the regular season.
In goal it's expected that Andrew Raycroft will start and that Richards Bachman will back him up. Kari Lehtonen has seen extensive time in the last four preseason games overall and looks to be in a solid rhythm. He'll be rested, and the other two will play. The backup job seems to be Raycroft's without question, but there are those around the team who feel that Bachman is closer than people think. He's certainly earned a long, hard look.
As far as the injured Stars go, Gulutzan had this to say on Morrow. "We're not going to play him tomorrow because it is his first full practice today. We'd rather let him practice three or four more days. We're not worried about chemistry with him and Ribby."
"They're closer," said Gulutzan of Benn and Adam Burish. "If this were regular season Benny would probably jump in, but Burish couldn't. Then again, we're in that same thing - why do it. We'll give them a couple more days."[ESPn Dallas]
Everyone is expected to be ready for the regular season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.
We had hoped a radio feed would be available for this game, but as of late on Friday night it isn't clear. Presumably the Cardinals being the playoffs later that day will pre-empt Blues coverage, though some of their other preseason home games have been broadcast. Check back with us here, but don't hold your breath.
If you happen to live in the St. Louis metro area, they've been streaming video of their games on the team web site. An attractive proposition...