DALLAS - After a frustrating, uncharacteristic loss Tuesday to the New York Rangers to start the road trip, the Blues are looking to get back on track and start fresh tonight when they meet the Central Division rival Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center (7:30 p.m., FSMW, KMOX).
There are several reasons to think the Blues can right the ship tonight.
- They've got a lot of confidence playing in Dallas, where they've won seven of their last nine games, including three of four in last year's second round playoff series.
- The Blues were shutout in five games last season, but bounced back in the next game to claim points in all five (4-0-1)
- The club had a focused, intense, team practice Wednesday
"There's a lot of positive memories for us in this building, especially in Game 7," said goalie Jake Allen, who will start tonight. "It was a fun, exciting series. Both teams know each other really well and have a majority of the same lineup and so do we. It's going to be a big test for us. They're one of our biggest rivals in this division and we want to start on a good note.
"We've been up and down this season so far, so it's just about fighting back and finding our game here," said defenseman Carl Gunnarsson. "We have good confidence in the group even though we started with a loss last game, but we've got a good game in us we just have to try to pull that off."
Video: Blues 'confident' in facing Dallas
The Stars have been struggling lately, going winless in their last three games. But Dallas is battling several significant injuries: Patrick Sharp (concussion symptoms), Ales Hemsky (hip), Mattias Janmark (knee) and Cody Eakin (knee) are all out. Hemsky and Janmark are each expected to miss at least five months.
"They still have some star players on their top line that are very dangerous," Allen said. "We need to be ready from the get-go and we need to redeem ourselves from our last game more importantly and start building more momentum.
"Yesterday we needed to have a good practice," Allen added. "In the season with how busy it is with games and travel, it's tough to find days to have full team practices. We got one of them yesterday. It was intense, more intense than usual, and that was needed from all of us. We'll be ready to go tonight for sure."
PIETRANGELO 'GOOD TO GO'
Captain Alex Pietrangelo did not skate Wednesday after having a "scare" late in the first period Tuesday in New York. While trying to prevent a Rangers scoring chance with 20 seconds left in the period, Pietrangelo got tied up with forward J.T. Miller and appeared injured on the play. He skated slowly off the ice but did return for the second and third periods.
Pietrangelo was on the ice for the morning skate today and stayed out longer than usual.
"I stayed out there a little bit longer to put myself in some different situations, but nothing is holding me back. That's always a good feeling when you don't know how it's going to feel, but it feels good.
"I'm good to go. A little bit of a scare, but I took the day off yesterday to recover and let (trainer) Ray (Barile) do some treatment on me. It worked, so I'm good to go."