Preview: Blues at Stars
After laying another egg on the road with a loss at lowly Philadelphia, the Dallas Stars have to chance to move closer to first place in the Central Division when they open a six-game homestand against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night. The Stars dropped two of three on their just-concluded road trip, but the one bright spot was a 3-1 victory at St. Louis.
Dallas owns a 14-5-2 record at home and does not play on the road again until Feb. 2 so it has a prime opportunity to boost its third-place standing in the division. "It's important," captain Jamie Benn said. "We play two divisional games before the break and the best team in the league (Tampa Bay) and LA, which is a good team, so we need to take advantage of these home games and see what we can do with it." The Blues have played a league-low 16 games away from home as they open a four-game road trip that could feature a bigger role for rookie netminder Jordan Binnington, who has allowed one goal in winning his first two NHL starts. “The first couple games when he got thrown in it’s a tough situation, but the starts he’s been lights out. That’s awesome," defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, FS Midwest (St. Louis), FS Southwest (Dallas)
ABOUT THE BLUES (18-20-4): Rookie forward Robert Thomas opened the scoring in Thursday's 4-1 win over Montreal with a power-play goal, but he had to exit the game with an apparent shoulder injury after crashing into the boards and will not accompany the team on the road trip. “He was coming around, he was getting more ice, power-play time, scored a power-play goal," coach Craig Berube said. "It's unfortunate that happened.” Center Tyler Bozak (upper body) has been sidelined the past three games and also will not be on the road trip but Alexander Steen, currently on injured reserve, will travel with the team.
ABOUT THE STARS (23-18-4): Red-hot Tyler Seguin, who scored two goals and set up another in Tuesday's win at St. Louis, assisted on the lone goal at Philadelphia to extend his point streak to seven games (six goals, five assists). Benn scored for the third time in five games to boost his season total to 18 goals but Dallas needs to receive more offense beyond the No. 1 line. "I'm definitely behind where I was last year at this point, and so are some other guys," forward Tyler Pitlick said. "I don't know, like I said, I feel like it's a simple answer. ... We've just got to do it."
1. Benn has 14 goals and 34 points in 36 games against St. Louis.
2. Blues F David Perron scored against Dallas on Tuesday as part of his current nine-game point streak.
3. Stars F Alexander Radulov has 10 points in his last seven games, including two assists versus the Blues.
PREDICTION: Stars 3, Blues 2