ST. LOUIS - After three days away from the rink, the Blues get back to work tonight at 7 p.m. against the Dallas Stars (FSMW, KMOX 1120 AM).
The Blues are looking to snap a three-game winless streak after going 0-2-1 on a three-game road trip before the holiday break.
“Good morning skate today,” said Blues goalie Jake Allen, who will start tonight. “Get right back in the swing of things. No waiting around, no three or four days of practice…right back into a game. This is what you want to do. We let it slip a little bit the last road trip, and we have a great opportunity in front of us right now.
“It’s good to be back, though. After a few days you don’t know what to do with yourself.”
It’s rare to have three days away from the rink, so Blues Head Coach Ken Hitchcock said the Blues need to get to their game early.
“I find these games, quite frankly, are loose. Very fast and very loose, and that’s not to our advantage,” Hitchcock said. “We have to get the bruise-on-bruise feeling going quickly. That’s going to be important for us.
“One of the things, when you take three days off, your body kind of mellows out. Getting engaged, getting alert again is going to be important. If we’re not alert against Dallas, they’re going to be blowing right by us. We’ve got to get to our game early. If we get to our game early, I really like our chances. But if we’re chasing the game, it’s going to be advantage Dallas.”
The last time the Blues and Stars met, Vladimir Tarasenko had a hat trick and Jori Lehtera had a goal and two assists, helping the Blues to a 4-3 overtime win on Oct. 28 at American Airlines Center. Tarasenko and Lehtera combined for seven points in the game.
The Stars are coming off a 4-0 loss to Toronto on Tuesday at American Airlines Center. Before that game, the Stars had a four-game win streak.
“We seem to have a really tough time with them,” T.J. Oshie said of Dallas. “If our game slips at all, they usually take advantage of it. We’ve got to be smart tonight, we’ve got to be patient and play a full 60 minutes.”
Carl Gunnarsson was back on the ice with the team at today’s morning skate. He’s been out of the lineup since taking an elbow to the head on Dec. 6. “He’s getting himself ready to be a player,” Hitchcock said. “Gunnarsson was full-go for us and we’ll see how he is. We’ll go day-to-day on him.”
Jaden Schwartz, who has a right foot injury, could be getting ready to skate in the next few days. “I can’t really tell you (a timeline) until he puts his skate on, which we’re hoping is the next few days,” Hitchcock said.
Hitchcock said Brian Elliott will have an important practice tomorrow. He’s been recovering from a lower-body injury and is getting closer to a return. “Full go and see how he does,” Hitchcock said. “We’ll be able to give you an evaluation after the practice tomorrow.”
The Blues are 7-4-0 against Central Division opponents this year.
Alex Pietrangelo has one goal and nine assists in his last 11 games against Dallas.
The Blues are 4-1-1 on home ice against the Stars over the past three seasons.
Oshie said Santa brought his daughter, Lyla, a toy roller coaster on Thursday. The Blues forward, who was home for his daughter's first Christmas, said the Blues are refreshed and ready to go. "I think it’s good for everyone to get away from the rink and recharge the old batteries. We’re back today and everything looks fresh."
Blues GM Doug Armstrong will be the guest at the Blues Postgame Show tonight at O.B. Clark’s in Brentwood. The show airs until midnight on KMOX.