The Dallas Stars host their closest Central Division neighbors, the St. Louis Blues, Tuesday night. With seven points separating the two teams in the standings, though, the division-rival aspect of the game takes a back seat to the Stars’ desperate need for two points.
“We need every point we [can get],” said Dallas defenseman John Klingberg. “So it’s obvious, for every game now, we need to take as many points as possible.”
The Stars will have every opportunity to earn two points Tuesday, as the visiting Blues have struggled of late: they’re just 2-8-0 in their previous 10 road games and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games overall. Add in the fact that the Blues played last night (a 3-2 overtime loss in St. Louis to the Edmonton Oilers), and it equals a very good chance for Dallas to win back-to-back games for just the second time this season.
St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars
American Airlines Center – 7:30 pm CST
Broadcast channels – FS-SW, FS-MW
2016-17 Season Series: November 3 – Stars 6, Blues 2
November 28 – Blues 4, Stars 3 (OT)
St. Louis Blues: 17-11-5 – 39 Points
Road Record: 4-9-1
Hot Players: Vladimir Tarasenko, Kevin Shattenkirk and Kyle Brodziak
Key Injuries: Robert Bortuzzo
Jaden Schwartz – Paul Stastny – Nail Yakupov
Alexander Steen – Patrik Berglund – David Perron
Robby Fabbri – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko
Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Ryan Reaves
Joel Edmundson – Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester – Colton Parayko
Carl Gunnarsson – Kevin Shattenkirk
Dallas Stars: 13-14-6 – 32 Points
Home Record: 9-5-2
Hot Players: Antti Niemi
Key Injuries: Patrick Sharp, Mattias Janmark, Ales Hemsky
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel – Radek Faksa – Brett Ritchie
Lauri Korpikoski – Jason Spezza – Jiri Hudler
Curtis McKenzie – Devin Shore – Adam Cracknell
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis – Stephen Johns
Johnny Oduya – Jordie Benn
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]1)[/miptheme_dropcap] Dallas defenseman Johnny Oduya was injured in Saturday’s win over Philadelphia. He left the game just past the midpoint of the second period, but returned for the third. Though he didn’t practice yesterday, Oduya took part in the optional morning skate Tuesday and will skate in warm-ups tonight. He’ll be a game-time decision, according to Lindy Ruff.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]2)[/miptheme_dropcap] Though the St. Louis Blues no longer have David Backes and Troy Brouwer to terrorize Dallas defensemen on the forecheck, they’re not a “softer” team, said Jordie Benn. “Just because those guys are gone doesn’t mean anything. They’re still a big, strong team, and they’re tough to play against.”
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]3)[/miptheme_dropcap] Klingberg agreed with Jordie’s assessment. “I think they’re the same team,” said the smooth-skating Swede. “They’ve still got really heavy D, still got really heavy forwards up front, so no, I think they’re the same team.”
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]4)[/miptheme_dropcap] Key for the Stars will be containing Vladimir Tarasenko. The Russian right wing enters Tuesday’s game with three goals and four assists in his last five games, and is the Blues’ leading scorer by a wide margin.
[miptheme_dropcap style=”normal” color=”#222222″ background=””]5)[/miptheme_dropcap] Like teammate Patrick Eaves, Jordie Benn boasts quite an impressive beard. The defenseman’s facial hair gives him an uncanny resemblance to Yukon Cornelius, a beloved character from the holiday classic, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Benn, to his credit, has chosen to ‘steer into the skid,’ as it were. “I think it’s hilarious,” said Jordie. “A few of my buddies call me ‘Yukon’ now. I guess it’s a good nickname; I mean, I kind of look like the guy, so…it’s just funny. I love it. It’s Christmastime, so why not?”
Matt blogged about all things hockey at On Goal Analysis/The OGA Blogs from 2008-2014 and has written several travel articles for The Dallas Morning News. He began covering the Dallas Stars and Florida Panthers for The Hockey Writers in August 2015. Matt is also writing a biography of “Tex” Rickard, the Texas cowboy who founded the New York Rangers and the Madison Square Garden Corporation.