For one night the Dallas Stars offense looked like its old self, and then some. Without much from Tyler Seguin or Jamie Benn Dallas poured it on a bad Predator team with a 7-3 win to delight a strong AAC crowd.
Still three points behind Phoenix, they now have to face the dreaded second night of a back-to-back set against a rested St. Louis Blues club in their own barn.
The Stars have lost four in a row on the road, all in regulation, and six of their last seven road contests overall. They start a stretch of five straight on the road with this one, and can really only absorb another three regulation losses in their final nine games to have any hope of grabbing that final playoff spot.
"We got the game we wanted," Lindy Ruff said last night, "and now we have to go out and get the game tomorrow. We played a good game in St. Louis last time. We need to score and St. Louis doesn't give up a lot but if you can get two or three you can get yourself in a ballgame with them, although they've really been on a run here lately."
They're 11-2-1 in the month of March, and in ten of those games they've held the opposition to two or fewer goals. They just don't get scored on much. It took Dallas over 60 minutes to get to three last time.
They've out-scored their competition by an 11-4 margin in their current three-game win streak, including shutting out the dynamic Penguin offense and crushing the oft-stingy Minnesota defense with a big 5-1 win.
Between those two wins they put 49 shots on Toronto. 49!
They can play the game fast and they can grind it out slow. They have premier netminding. They have a power play (2 for 5 in their last outing) that needs accounting for. They scored shorthanded against Minnesota. They have the foremost shootout specialist in the game as well, in case you're lucky enough to push them that far. They've really got it all.
They'll focus all of it on stopping Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. The Stars, for their part, might want to watch out for those Oshie and Backes guys:
Oshie has six points in his past two games after having a goal and two assists in the Blues' win at Toronto. He has a career-high 21 goals this season, leads the team in points with 60 and the team now has five 20-goal scorers, their most since the 2010-11 season. It's the second straight game the Blues have had a hat trick, following David Backes' in Toronto on Tuesday. It's the first time the Blues have had hat tricks in back-to-back games since December of 2000, when Pavol Demitra and Michal Handzus did it. [St. Louis Dispatch]
The lineup, headlined by those guys:
That Brenden Morrow, Steve Ott and Derek Roy trio is still together, and they're talking about it being one that lasts into the post-season if they stay on the right side of chances being generated.