The Dallas Stars are on the outside looking into the Western Conference's playoff situation. It's January. It's time to start talking about these things.
Their aspirations, however, still have time to include a wild card spot- Or even a third-place finish in the Central Division. The third place spot, as it so happens, is currently occupied by the St. Louis Blues, whom the Stars happen to meet tonight.
Just five points separate the two, and this is the last chance for the Stars to directly take from this particular foe this season.
So this is kind of a big deal, both mathematically and as a statement for the season's second half.
Of course, it will happen without the Stars' heart and soul, but...Good news?
Jamie Benn skated today on his own and is going on road trip. Still on IR and not eligible to play Saturday at St. Louis.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) January 6, 2017
The fact he was on skates was good enough. The fact that he got on the plane seems to backup the notion that it's really not that serious. They missed him at home when it came to finishing. They'll miss him that much more on the road where they've less control over line matching.
The Blues are coming off a Thursday night loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. They weren't very happy about it- At least, a guy that had a pretty good view of his teammates' efforts;
"I thought that was our worst game of the year,” goaltender Jake Allen told media afterward. “I don't know what you guys saw, but from everyone, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror after that game. Unfocused, unexecuting and just didn't play our game at all."
Some possible good news for the Stars could be Jake Allen's personal good news as his family welcomes a new baby to the world-
Jake Allen questionable for tomorrow. He's on the verge, if he hasn't already, of becoming a first-time father. #stlblues— Lou Korac (@lkorac10) January 6, 2017
Backup netminder Carter Hutton is 3-4-2 on the year with eight starts, a 2.92 GAA and a .890 save percentage, but there's no certainty around Allen's absence. The baby came yesterday afternoon and it's a home game, so he could be available.
The Blues have been meandering of late- The loss to Carolina, a win over Chicago in the outdoor game. A loss to Nashville, a win over Philly, a loss to Tampa, a win over...Dallas.
Yes the last meeting between these two was at the American Airlines Center and like so many contests you've seen this season, dear reader, it went past 60 minutes. Which is to say it went pretty poorly. The Stars out-shot the Blues 38-22 but it was Perron in the extra session that earned the win.
How about the last meeting between the two? Also an OT win for the Blues, that time in St. Louis. That time courtesy of one Vladamir Tarasenko. The same Tarasenko a national TV audience watched hang a hat trick on the Blackhawks.
Their lineup, or something like it-
Pietrangelo is a four-syllable word. Some people need to get hip with it. Their injury list isn't one, because it seems like lists have more than one entry (Carl Gunnarsson).
From Stars PR:
MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues meet on Saturday night at Scottrade Center for the fourth and final game during the 2016-17 regular season. Dallas is riding a seven-game point streak (2-0-5) against St. Louis and has collected points in all three games this season (1-0-2) against the Blues. On the road in the Gateway City, the Stars have points in seven of the last eight games (4-1-3). In the most recent game during the 2016-17 campaign on Dec. 20 at American Airlines Center, the Blues defeated the Stars in overtime, 3-2. Forward Jason Spezza tied a game-high with two points (1-1=2) and forward Patrick Eaves (1-0=1) lit the lamp. Goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 19-of-22 shots to help the Stars earn a point in overtime. Captain Jamie Benn leads all Stars skaters with six points (1-5=6) in three games this season against the Blues. On special teams, the Stars are 3-for-10 (30.0%) on the power play and have killed off 7-of-8 (87.5%) of the Blues' opportunities with the man-advantage.
IT'S ONLY THE SEGUINING
Forward Tyler Seguin lit the lamp (1-0=1) on Wednesday night against Montreal and has points in five-straight games (4-3=7) and 10 points (4-6=10) over his last nine games. Seguin shares sixth in the NHL with 39 points (14-25=39) in 39 games this season and is tied for eighth in the League with 25 assists. Additionally among League leaders, the forward shares fifth in shots (136), is tied for seventh in both power play points (15) and power play goals (7). Seguin shares 12th in the NHL with 19 points (8-11=19) over 18 games on the road this season, and leads the Stars in points, goals and assists away from Dallas. The native of Brampton, Ont. has points in three of his last four games against the Blues (0-7=7). In his first game of the season against the Blues on Nov. 3 at American Airlines Center, Seguin recorded a season-high four points (0-4=4). Over the course of his NHL career, the forward has 17 points (4-13=17) in 19 games against St. Louis.