Preview: Stars at Blues
The defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues have hit a bit of a rough patch, but still own the best record in the Western Conference as they host the Dallas Stars on Saturday in a key Central Division game. St. Louis had an 11-game home point streak snapped (10-0-1) with a 4-2 loss to Winnipeg on Thursday and is 2-5-1 in its last eight games.
"There's a lot of desperate teams around the league right now, trying to find their way, playoff spots, things like that,'' Blues coach Craig Berube told reporters. "Hockey's tight right now. It's tough. We've got to dig in more. We have to have a better mindset going into games, being harder to play against. It's a lot of playoff hockey going on right now. I'd like to see us get more of that mindset right now." Dallas lost at least one point after allowing a goal with 25.7 seconds left in a 3-2 loss to Minnesota on Friday and is third in the Central, seven points behind St. Louis and six clear of the rest of the division. The Stars on Saturday could be without Alexander Radulov (31 points), who collided with teammate Denis Gurianov and eventually left Friday's game. St. Louis has won four straight meetings, including the first two this season with David Perron and Ryan O'Reilly each recording a goal and two assists, and goaltenders Jordan Binnington and Jake Allen each winning once.
TIME: 8 p.m. ET. TV: FS Southwest Plus, FS Midwest
ABOUT THE STARS (30-19-5): Joe Pavelski scored Friday and has four of his 12 goals and five of his 24 points in his last four games. Gurianov has scored in consecutive games for the second time in the last six contests and has 15 goals on the season. Anton Khudobin is 2-0-1 against St. Louis and will likely take the net Saturday after Ben Bishop stopped 27 Minnesota shots.
ABOUT THE BLUES (32-15-8): Robert Thomas has recorded a goal and four assists in his last five games and boasts nine goals and 32 points this season after recording nine and 33 during his 2018-19 rookie campaign. O'Reilly (49 points) leads the league in faceoffs won with 686 and his 56.9 success rate is among the best. Perron remains on pace for a career season as he leads the team with 23 goals and 53 points, but missed the scoresheet in his last three games.
1. Dallas captain Jamie Benn is slated to play his 800th NHL game on Saturday.
2. St. Louis is 3-for-7 on the power play in its last two games and boasts the No. 4 power play in the league at 25.1 percent, but hasn't scored in 20 straight 5-on-3 situations covering 23 minutes, 33 seconds.
3. The Stars have scored four and allowed four power-play goals in their last three games.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Stars 2