04-17-2024 Heiskanen,Kessel

When: Wednesday, April 17 at 8:30 p.m. CT
Where: American Airlines Center in Dallas, TX
Watch: TNT, truTV, Max
Listen: 101 ESPN, Blues App


BLUES With one final game remaining, the St. Louis Blues will try to end 2023-24 on a high note.

The Blues closed out their home schedule with a 4-1 win over the Seattle Kraken. However, as the first game since being eliminated from playoff contention, Sunday had a much different feel.

"You go from playing meaningful games for the last two months to the last two games," Blues coach Drew Bannister said afterwards, "not that they don't mean a lot, but it meant a lot to our fans."

With that message in mind, the Blues rattled off three goals in the final period. Nathan Walker had a goal and an assist, while Jordan Kyrou scored his 31st of the season. Joel Hofer made 19 saves.

While the first full year of the Blues' "retool" won't end with a playoff berth, they've shown ample signs of progress.

The Blues have 10 more points this year than in 2022-23, which is the fifth-best improvement in the NHL. Both Robert Thomas and Jake Neighbours had career years, while rookies Zack Bolduc and Matthew Kessel seemingly found their strides towards the end of the season.

At the end of the day, however, Bannister isn't one for moral victories.

"I think the only thing we can do is learn from the mistakes we've made over this time to make us a better team," Bannister said. "I don't know if we can hang our hat on anything, because at the end of the day, we're not playing for a Stanley Cup. We're going to be going home early, a lot earlier than we wanted to, but I think we've learned some valuable lessons over the last two months playing these games."

STARS Coincidentally, the Dallas Stars also beat the Kraken last weekend.

Jake Oettinger made 26 saves against Seattle, but star defenseman Miro Heiskanen led the charge with a goal and two assists.

"I think that's what makes (Heiskanen) so good," Oettinger said postgame, "he can score with anybody. Offensively he's great, but he's not trying to play forward. He's so responsible defensively, just so well-rounded. I'm really lucky to have him in front of me."

That 3-1 win also clinched the Central Divsion title, meaning Dallas will face either the Nashville Predators, Vegas Golden Knights or Los Angeles Kings in the first round of playoffs.

"Obviously we want to hang more important banners than that," Oettinger said, "but obviously I'm proud of the guys, and the body of work over the last six months has been really impressive."

The last month and a half may have been Dallas' best to date; the Stars are 15-4-1 since the beginning of March, and they've won 11 of their last 13.

The Stars have gotten a lot of their 51 wins because their forward depth. They have a great blend of franchise vets like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn mixed with younger stars leading the way, including 20-year-old Wyatt Johnston and 24-year-old Jason Robertson.

They have nine players with at least 50 points this year. No other team has more than six. The third line of Benn, Johnston and rookie Logan Stankoven has been particularly great; they've combined for 28 goals since March 1. 

Add Heiskanen and Oettinger to the back end, and you've got a recipe for another deep playoff run in the Lone Star State.

HEAD TO HEAD This is the last game of the regular season for both teams. The Blues are 2-0-1 against Dallas this season, but the Stars won the only game at American Airlines Center in a shootout on Opening Night, Oct. 12.

Schenn, Bannister ahead of final game of 2023-24


BLUES Matthew Kessel has been a steady presence on St. Louis' blue line this season, but now he's also contributing on offense. Kessel had one assist with a plus-3 rating Sunday, and now he's got points in three of his last four.

STARS Miro Heiskanen had a goal and two assists against the Kraken. He has 54 points this year and averages 24:27 of ice time, the most on the Stars.


  • The Blues are 5-3-1 in their last nine games against Dallas.
  • The Blues have not allowed a power-play goal to the Stars in their last four matchups (11-for-11 on the kill) and also have not allowed a power-play to the Stars in eight of their last nine matchups, going 21-for-24 (87.5%) on the penalty kill over those nine games.
  • Jordan Binnington is expected to appear in his 280th career game, which will tie him with Curtis Joseph for third on the Blues' all-time list for games played as a goalie.
  • The Blues have 7 skaters who have dressed in all 81 games this season: Jordan Kyrou, Nick Leddy, Colton Parayko, Brandon Saad, Brayden Schenn, Robert Thomas and Alexey Toropchenko. If all seven play in Dallas, it would be the first time in franchise history (21st in NHL history) seven or more skaters have appeared in all 82 games. 
  • Parayko leads the NHL in blocked shots (215) and leads all defensemen in takeaways (73). If Parayko can finish the season leading defensemen in both, he would be the first to do so since the NHL began tracking both stats in 2005-06.
  • Kyrou has scored in three straight games, matching his career-long goal streak, which he's done four times.
  • Thomas had four straight multi-point games (two goals, eight assists in total) from April 6-12, which is the longest streak of his career.

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