DALLAS - Less than 24 hours after last night’s 3-1 loss against the Minnesota Wild, the Blues are back in action tonight in Dallas, where they meet the Stars at 5 p.m. at American Airlines Center (FSMW, KMOX).
Tonight’s game marks the start of a season-long six-game road trip which also takes the club through Calgary, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Detroit and Pittsburgh. The Blues won’t return home until early morning on March 25.
The Blues enter tonight’s game looking to bounce back after giving up two quick third period goals to the Wild last night. The Blues fired 42 shots on goal but could only beat Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk once.
“We’ve got to score more goals on 42 shots,” captain David Backes said after the game. “We didn’t get the job done. We had a tired team in here that we got 21 shots on in one period, and they walk out of here with two points. It’s pretty disappointing.”
Added Brian Elliott: “I don’t think we played that bad, it’s just we couldn’t score. We didn’t get it done, but we’ve got a quick turnaround and we play another good team (on the road) in Dallas. It’s a good opportunity for us to bounce right back.”
The Stars (32-27-10, 74 points) are last in the Central Division but find themselves six points behind Winnipeg for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. It will be very difficult for Dallas to climb into the playoff picture, but not impossible - the Stars went 4-1-0 on a five-game road trip and begin a four-game home stand tonight.
Tonight’s game is the fourth meeting between the teams this season. The Blues took the first game 4-3 thanks to a Vladimir Tarasenko hat trick on Oct. 28. Dallas has won the last two (4-3 on Dec. 27 and 4-1 on Feb. 17).
“We’re going to have to go on our longest road trip of the year now, really dictate, grab together and find a way,” Backes said.
Jake Allen is expected to start in goal. He’s 6-1-1 in his last eight games.
DIVISION STANDINGS UPDATE
The Predators' 2-1 win last night against the Kings pushed the Blues back to second place in the Central Division. The Blues could take it back with a win tonight and would still have one game in hand on Nashville.
1. Nashville Predators - 70 GP, 43-20-7, 93 PTS
2. St. Louis Blues - 68 GP, 43-20-5, 91 PTS
3. Chicago Blackhawks - 68 GP, 41-20-5, 88 PTS
4. Minnesota Wild - 69 GP, 38-24-7, 83 PTS
Defenseman Zbynek Michalek made his Blues debut last night, playing 17:14 in his first game since being injured Feb. 14. “He was good,” Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Real solid. Looks like a great add for us right now.”
The Blues are 5-5-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
Hitchcock (700) and the Stars’ Lindy Ruff (643) rank second and third respectively in all-time regular seasons wins among active coaches.
T.J. Oshie leads the NHL in points per game on the road in 2015 (1.36). Alexander Steen is fourth with (1.29).
Patrik Berglund will play in his 500th career game tonight, becoming the first European and 10th forward in Blues history to reach that plateau.