Regular Season ends with Stars/Blues
Fans Appreciate Wins, don't they?
It's not necessarily must see hockey. On the other hand, if the Colorado Avalanche decide to gift the Central Division to the Dallas Stars, the team needs to be in a position to accept it.
Such is the conundrum of the Stars ending the season against the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center on Thursday night. Following a power play driven 5-2 win on Wednesday against these same Blues, its understandable that the team would just want to get on with it.
Its Fan Appreciation Night, which means something a bit different when the team is headed to the playoffs. Just ask Blues fans who are finishing off 15 days of Fan Appreciation for a team that's headed for the golf course for an extended summer break. By the way, dedicated Blues fans got a spiffy bucket hat for showing up last night.
Dallas Stars Lineup
Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Tyler Seguin (91) - Max Domi (18) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Evgeni Dadonov (63)
Joel Kiviranta (25) - Radek Faksa (12) - Luke Glendening (11)
Miro Heiskanen (4) – Ryan Suter (20)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)
Thomas Harley (55) - Colin Miller (6)
Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)
With no organized skate on Thursday, lineup decisions will mostly be of the game time variety. Oettinger is expected to be in net. There is also a hope that Mason Marchment will make his return to the lineup, giving him at least a day to get up to speed prior to the playoffs.
This might also be a last opportunity this season for ice time for Nils Lundqvist (just assume that Joel Hanley doesn't need any game action to be ready to play - that's what he does).
You might also get Fredrik Olofsson into the game. A handful of Stars forwards could likely use a maintenance day, especially Roope Hintz. In any event, expect the team to roll lines.
St. Louis Blues Lineup
Brandon Saad (20) - Robert Thomas (18) - Jordan Kyrou (25)
Samuel Blais (79) - Pavel Buchnevich (89) - Kasperi Kapanen (42)
Jake Neighbours (63) - Brayden Schenn (10) - Jakob Vrana (15)
Alexey Toropchenko (13) - Hugh McGing (56) - Nathan Walker (26)
Nick Leddy (4) - Colton Parayko (55)
Torey Krug (47) - Justin Faulk (72)
Tyler Tucker (75) - Calle Rosen (43)
Jordan Binnington (50)
Vadim Zherenko (60)
The Stars may get Zherenko in his NHL debut, but Binnington is always fun.
At the AHL level, the Springfield Thunderbirds have a big Friday night matchup against the Providence Bruins with significant playoff seeding implications for both teams. That means the Blues won't be using this game as a welcome to the show for their top prospects.
Keys to the Game
Roll Lines. See Wednesday, Stars vs. Blues. Yes, a win here is important, but it isn't something to overly stress over. Best to put on a good show for the fans on a night that should be a celebration of things past and a launching pad for things to come.
Karma. Sometimes, it's deserved.
Death Stars. Marchment-Domi-Seguin.