The Dallas Stars erased a two goal deficit in Long Island Saturday with a gritty comeback effort. And they lost a late second period lead. In the same game.
Against Vancouver at American Airlines Center last week they were victorious 6-3, yet solemn and reticent, displeased with their effort.
Yet they called their win in New Jersey on Friday night one of their finest outings this season.
They're a uh, rather tough bunch to figure out right now as they search for some consistency in their own end to go along with the potency they're displaying in their opponent's- A pursuit they'll continue against a stout St. Louis Blues roster this evening.
While the Stars struggled with the Central as a whole last season, St. Louis was a bright spot. Dallas recorded a 3-1-1 record against Hitchcock's bunch last season, 1-0-1 at home and 2-1-0 in Missouri. The Blues out-shot only once in the five games.
St. Louis enters play at 3-3-1 after a big win over the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night calmed the nerves of many following a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks in front of the home crowd Thursday.
No news is good news where Dallas' forwards are concerned as the group maintains its relatively good health. Valeri Nichushkin remains out but did skate yesterday, as did Sergei Gonchar. The two Russians will not be ready any time soon but they're getting close to giving Lindy Ruff some different options up front and in back.
Lines will likely remain, to start, something like this:
Curtis McKenzie remains with the team but skated on a line with Nichushkin in practice, seemingly ruling out his usage this evening but as always, check back later for morning skate lines.
After another sub-par outing from Stars backup Anders Lindback, expect Kari Lehtonen to be back in net mopping up while Dallas attempts to shore up their defensive game team-wide.
From Stars PR:
The Stars face off against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday in a matchup of two Central Division foes. Tuesday's contest at American Airlines Center marks the first of five games between the two clubs scheduled for the 2014-15 season. Dallas posted a 3-1-1 record against the Blues last season, including a 1-0-1 record at home. Captain JAMIE BENN led the Stars last season with six points (2-4=6) against the Blues, and comes into Tuesday's game having notched points in four of his last five against them (2-4=6).
According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch the Blues gone a total of 139:05 without a five on five goal before breaking through against Chicago Saturday night. They'd scored just one goal in all in their previous two games and that was on the power play. They face a Dallas team tonight that has surrendered tallies to the tune of 4.5 per night over their last four games.
The Blues' road power play has been potent thanks to a four-for-four night in Phoenix two weeks ago, but outside of that night has converted 3 of 24 chances overall for a 12.5% average. While the Stars have seen the puck in their net far too often, they have limited the enemy's power play opportunities to just a total of six of their last three contests.
On the flip side of special teams St. Louis has been leaky- Surrendering five power play goals against in their last four games and at least one in five of their first seven contests.
They've failed to score an even-strength goal in three of their seven games, and only once have managed three at evens. That's been their problem. It certainly it isn't defense, where they're allowing exactly two per game, good for fifth in the league. (The entire top five? Minnesota, Los Angeles, Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis. See the Stars at 28th allowing 3.50...)
The Blues little of consequence in the off-season (We saw Ryan Miller the other night...) but were the big winner on free agent day when UFA center Paul Stastny decided to join the fold, making their lineup that much more formidable- Except he injured a shoulder last week and will miss this one in all likelihood, leaving their lineup somewhat uncertain:
That's right. This game features Steve Ott, Maxim Lapierre, Antoine Roussel and Ryan Garbutt.
Technically Reaves and Vladamir Tarasenko are questionable for tonight's game with illness. A big piece of good news for the Blues, however, as newly acquired defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will make his season debut in Dallas after off-season hip surgery.
After Ryan Miller departed for Vancouver Brian Elliott should be in net, backed up by Jake Allen.