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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.
[to top of second column]
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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