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[November 03, 2016]  The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues waged a spirited duel for the Central Division title last season, a battle that carried into the postseason and a seven-game, second-round series won by the Blues. Neither team is playing close to that level this season as they prepare to renew their rivalry Thursday night in Dallas.

St. Louis was manhandled by the New York Rangers 5-0 in Tuesday's first leg of its two-game road trip, the sixth time in seven contests it has scored one goal or less. "We got to kind of stop the bleeding and get back to what works," Blues forward Paul Stastny said. "And we know what works for us, it's playing that grind game, that puck-possession game." The Stars led the league in scoring last season but have notched just three goals during their winless three-game road trip (0-2-1). After getting dominated at Winnipeg and Minnesota, Dallas allowed the tying goal with 16 seconds to play in a 3-2 overtime loss at Columbus on Tuesday.

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Midwest (St. Louis), FSN Southwest (Dallas)

ABOUT THE BLUES (5-3-2): Attempt to shake St. Louis out of its offensive malaise, coach Ken Hitchcock switched out two of his centers, moving Patrik Berglund between Alexander Steen and David Perron while Stastny was paired with Robby Fabbri and Nail Yakupov. "Paul has played very well with Fabbri," Hitchcock said. So we're hoping that that chemistry comes back. That's what we're hoping." Forward Vladimir Tarasenko is mired in a six-game goal drought, although he's tied for the league lead in shots on net.

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ABOUT THE STARS (3-4-2): While Dallas has managed only six goals in its past five games, Tyler Seguin is starting to heat up with three tallies in his last four. Antti Niemi saw a solid performance spoiled with the late tying goal and quick game-winner in overtime at Columbus, but Kari Lehtonen has a superior record versus St. Louis with a 13-6-3 mark and 2.09 goals-against average. "We need our goaltending to be better," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Those two guys know they need to be better."


1. Tarasenko has eight goals in 14 games against Dallas.

2. Stars captain Jamie Benn has one assist in his last five games, but he has 23 points in 27 games versus the Blues.

3. St. Louis called up D Brad Hunt from Chicago of the American Hockey League as insurance for captain Alex Pietrangelo, who is nursing an undisclosed injury after getting tangled up with J.T. Miller of the Rangers.

PREDICTION: Stars 4, Blues 3

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