Blues shoot for another home win as Stars hit town
Saturday, 10.24.2009 / 7:00 PM
STARS (4-2-4) at BLUES (4-3-1)
Season series: First of four meetings this season. St. Louis went 3-0-1 against Dallas last season. Even when the Stars finally won -- Trevor Daley's overtime goal lifted them to a 5-4 victory on April 4 -- they were still eliminated from playoff contention in the process. Brad Boyes of the Blues was the leading goal scorer with three.
Big Story: Starting off a stretch where they play five of six games on home ice, St. Louis did itself a favor Friday night by getting into the win column at the Scottrade Center with a win over Minnesota. Although the Blues already had a "home" win that actually came on neutral ice in Stockholm during their season-opening two-game series with Detroit, they had actually lost both of their previous home games after returning to North America.
Stars -- Those who see the glass as half full will note Dallas has picked up at least one point in eight of its 10 games this season -- as a result, the Stars find themselves in a three-way tie for first in the Pacific Division with Phoenix and Los Angeles. Those who see the glass as half empty will point out Dallas has only won four of its 10 games and has lost all four that went beyond regulation.
Blues -- It was just what the doctor ordered when Minnesota came to town -- St. Louis jumped out to the early lead and dropped its opponent to 0-7-0 on the road this season. Blues goalie Chris Mason stopped 20 shots, though his biggest challenge might have been staying alert during a third period that featured a combined seven shots (four for the Wild, three for the Blues).
"The third period was textbook," Mason said. "We didn't give them anything. We didn't get anything but we shut them down."
Who's Hot -- Brad Richards returned from a two-game absence with two assists in the Stars' 5-4 overtime loss to the Kings, and linemates James Neal (two goals) and Loui Eriksson (two assists) were happy to have him back. It was Neal's second straight two-goal effort.
The Blues have been getting production out of their checking line, with Jay McClement opening the scoring against the Wild and David Perron connecting for the shorthanded game-winner.
Injury Report -- Dallas has been without forwards Mike Modano (ribs) and Jere Lehtinen (intercostal muscle), while Richards is playing despite a groin injury that still isn't 100 percent.
St. Louis forward Alexander Steen has a fractured wrist that will keep him out in excess of six weeks. Defenseman Barret Jackman is out with an ankle injury, while defenseman Eric Brewer is nearing his return from a knee injury.
Stat Pack -- The Stars have not lost in regulation on the road this season, sporting a 3-0-3 mark. Mason is 3-1-1 career with a 2.70 goals-against average against Dallas, though after starting Friday he could sit in favor of Ty Conklin, 2-0-0 with a 1.71 GAA this season and 1-2-0 with a 2.54 GAA against Dallas.
Puck Drop -- “I just loved the way that we battled back,” Stars coach Marc Crawford said after his team scored three in the third period to force overtime against the Kings. “That’s a big point for us and it’s unfortunate that we didn’t get it all the way. But I think that we learned something tonight as well -- if we stick to the habits that are going to allow us to be successful, then I think that will carry us a long way.”
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com