St. Louis Blues @ Dallas Stars
7:30 PM – October 13, 2011
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
For a team that has struggled mightily on the power play, the Dallas Stars (2-1-0, 4 points) might have found the perfect remedy in the St. Louis Blues (1-1-0, 2 points). Dallas has gone 1 of 14 so far this season on the PP and coach Glen Gulutzan has expressed frustrations about how bad it looked.
Enter the St. Louis Blues. Last season, St. Louis was a middle of the pack penalty kill team but were very poor on the road, ranking 25th in the NHL with a 77.1 kill percentage. This season, the Blues have allowed a power play goal in each game so far and have a 57.1 PK (4 of 7) percentage.
Dallas is coming off a tough fought 2-1 shootout win over the Phoenix Coyotes. Dallas looked like they were assured of a loss but managed to score with less than 30 seconds left in the game and then stole the win in the shootout. Kari Lehtonen was fantastic once again as he stopped 40 of 41 shots and Sheldon Souray notched his third straight game with a point.
Lehtonen will have a busy night again as St. Louis is averaging 34 shots a game and has a stingy defense that has not allowed very many shots in return. Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak has faced only 33 shots TOTAL in two games this season.
Kari has dominated the Blues in recent seasons. He won all four games last year, with a .949 save percentage, and has won five straight against the Blues dating back to the 2008-2009 season.
Defenders Nick Grossman (groin) and Adam Pardy (ribs) should be able to make their season debuts tonight as they return from injuries. Who knows just how much of a difference they will make, but without them Dallas has been outshot 110-79. They need to help alleviate pressure from Lehtonen.
Recently traded for Eric Nystrom could also make his debut in a Stars sweater tonight. He’ll work with the fourth line most likely, taking over Krys Barch’s spot in the lineup.