DALLAS - With last night’s convincing 4-1 vs. Calgary, the Blues punched their ticket to the postseason for the fourth consecutive time and 39th time in franchise history.
But there won’t be any time to celebrate.
The Blues get right back to work tonight at American Airlines Center in Dallas, where they’ll meet the Stars (7:30 p.m., FSMW, KMOX) and need to continue collecting points to chase first place in the Central Division and secure home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.
The recipe to accomplish that? Just build on last night’s win against the Flames.
“What an effort from the guys,” goalie Jake Allen said after Thursday’s game at Scottrade Center. “Coming down to the wire, clinching a playoff spot, a couple of our key players (Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko) out, guys stepped up tonight. It was impressive.”
“We worked hard at both ends,” added forward Paul Stastny. “I know it’s cliche-ish, but we held onto the puck a little more. We tried making some plays throughout all four lines, and I think as a team we played pretty sound hockey, and then even when it was a one-goal game, just kept going.
“It was nice [clinching] on home ice. Now the next step for us is get better until April 15 or whenever the playoffs start, but our focus is trying to get home ice.”
Brian Elliott will be back between the pipes tonight in Dallas. The Stars find themselves out of the playoff picture but have won seven of their last 10 games.
The Blues and Stars have split the first four games of the season series. The road team has won each game.
800 WILL WAIT
Blues defenseman Barret Jackman's next game will be his 800th, but it will have to wait.
Jackman will get a break tonight and won't be in the lineup against Dallas.
This season, Jackman has passed Brett Hull and Brian Sutter on the team’s all-time games played list. The defenseman has played his entire career with the Blues and trails only Bernie Federko (927) on the all-time list.CENTRAL DIVISION UPDATE
The Blues won last night, but the Blackhawks kept pace with a win, too. Chicago remains just one point behind the Blues. Both teams have one game in hand on the division-leading Predators.
1. Nashville - 78 GP, 47-22-9, 103 PTS
2. St. Louis - 77 GP, 47-23-7, 101 PTS
3. Chicago - 77 GP, 47-24-6, 100 PTS
Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist last night, setting a new career-high in points with 58 (25 goals, 33 assists).
Elliott (24-14-3) and Allen (20-6-4) have become the second tandem in Blues history to each post 20 wins in the same season. The only other instance was in 2011-12, when Elliott won 23 games and Jaroslav Halak won 26. Allen’s 20th victory last night is the second-most by a Blues rookie goaltender. Mike Liut set the franchise record in 1979-80 with 32 wins.
The team had an optional morning skate today in Dallas, and there’s no indication whether Steen or Tarasenko will play tonight. Both are listed as day-to-day with lower-body injuries.