St. Louis Blues (3-1-0, 6 pts) @ Dallas Stars (2-1-1, 5 pts)
7:00 PM CT
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
The Stars get another tough Central Division test tonight as the Blues come into town. St. Louis is one of the most well-rounded teams in the league and an infusion of youth has given their offense an extra kick so far this season.
There are a lot of solid players on this team but the guy to watch is easily young phenom Vladimir Tarasenko. The young Russian is among the league leaders with six points (which leads the team) and is also the team leader with four goals.
He’s shown incredible skill on the ice and is the most explosive player on the Blues. The early favorite for rookie of the year will give the Stars defense a lot of trouble.
The offense for the Blues is really good but the defense has been even better under Hitchcock. Jaroslav Halak started two games this season and posted two shut-outs (against the Red Wings and Predators) while Brian Elliott has played well in the two games he started on the road en route to a 1-1-0 record.
The Blues lead the league in power play percentage and are third in goals against. Dallas will have to find a way to stay out of the penalty box and protect Cristopher Nilstorp from getting swarmed by the Blues.
It’s unknown who the starter in goal will be tonight for the Blues, but I’m leaning towards Halak getting the nod.
Possible line combos:
Perron – Backes – Oshie
Schwartz – Berglund – Stewart
McDonald – Steen – Tarasenko
Sobotka – Nichol – Langenbrunner
Pietrangelo – Redden
Shattenkirk – Russell
Jackman – Polak
The big news that came down last game was that Jamie Benn had re-signed with the team. Unfortunately he won’t be able to play in this game due to work visa issues and that’s going to be a big loss considering the Stars will be missing a bunch of names tonight.
Jaromir Jagr is still dealing with a back issue that took him out of the third period of the previous game and Kari Lehtonen won’t start tonight mostly because he’s been overworked by how poor the defense has been in front of him. He tweaked a muscle and will sit tonight in favor of Cristopher Nilstorp. Nilstorp did great in his one start this season and he’ll be seeing a lot of shots again tonight.
Colton Sceviour will get in the lineup while Reilly Smith gets bumped into the top six in Jagr’s place. It also looks like Tomas Vincour will see playing time tonight with either Derek Roy or Ray Whitney sitting out. Whitney has been dealing with a slight injury and general soreness while Roy took a cheap shot to his shoulder area from Johan Franzen two games ago. Whatever the case, the lines will be shuffled up a lot tonight.
Aaron Rome will finally be back in the lineup tonight, but interestingly enough it’s Philip Larsen that’s going to be scratched. Larsen has had some penalty issues but he’s still been one of the better defenders on this team so it’s a bit of an odd decision.
Eriksson – Eakin – Ryder
Whitney – Wandell – Smith
Morrow – Fiddler – Nystrom
Garbutt – Sceviour – Vincour
Goligoski – Robidas
Benn – Daley
Rome – Dillon