Stars-Blues Preview


After defeating one of the Eastern Conference's best teams on the road, the St. Louis Blues are eager to return home and replicate that performance.

The Dallas Stars are probably also anxious to take the ice in St. Louis after yet another loss in front of their home crowd.

In the first meeting of the season between these new Central Division rivals, the Blues hope to build on an encouraging win Saturday night when they face a Stars team seeking a seventh straight road victory.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock had said Thursday afternoon that he was hoping to use that night's game against Boston as a way to see how his team would stack up against an East power. The Blues (15-3-3) gave Hitchcock reason to believe their fast start is no fluke by winning 3-2 in a shootout.

Derek Roy scored in regulation and added the clincher in the fourth round of the shootout, and captain David Backes also scored as St. Louis extended its best start in franchise history.

"I thought Boston played really well in the first and third, and we played very well in the second," Hitchcock told the Blues' official website. "I think we know there's another level out there, and I think going home and getting ready for it is going to help us."

Waiting for them in St. Louis will be a Stars team that is playing its best hockey on the road.

Dallas (11-8-2) saw its three-game winning streak end with Thursday's 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. It was only the team's second defeat in eight games, but fourth straight in Dallas.

The Stars have been much more comfortable on the road, outscoring opponents 23-12 to take their last six. They haven't won seven in a row away from home since an eight-game run in 2010-11.

The Blues are 5-0-1 in their last six in St. Louis and have the league's fourth-best home record at 9-1-2.

Dallas is coming off a frustrating showing against the Rangers. The Stars had a season-high 43 shots but only Stephane Robidas and Alex Chiasson were able to beat Henrik Lundqvist.

"We worked hard to get those opportunities but you don't get anything from them if you don't put them in the net," coach Lindy Ruff said.

Robidas' goal came on the power play as Dallas went 1 for 5 with the man advantage. The Stars are 3 for 35 in such situations in the last 10 games.

"For the most part, I think we did a much better job of creating opportunities," Ruff said. "I think if we get set up and get those number of looks, the power play is going to start to go."

It could be tough for the Stars to get their power play untracked against the Blues given that St. Louis has killed 27 of 30 penalties in 11 games this month.

Jaroslav Halak, who has stopped 52 of 55 shots in his last two games, has also been tough on Dallas, posting a 2.00 goals-against average in winning his last four starts in the series.

The Blues went 2-1-0 against the Stars last season and have won five of the last six meetings.

Alexander Steen, one of the league's top scorers with 26 points, finished St. Louis' three-game trip without a point. He has 10 goals and eight assists in 12 home games.