Game 1: BLUES at STARS
Western Conference Second Round
TV: 8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports
DALLAS -- Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff is expecting a physical series with the St. Louis Blues in the Western Conference Second Round, so veteran forward Travis Moen likely will be in the lineup for Game 1 Friday at American Airlines Center as a way to help counteract that physicality.
"He's fearless, he's been through it, he knows how to protect the puck, he knows how to play the situations," Ruff said of Moen. "He's comfortable in this environment, which is something that a lot of teams look for when they look for experienced and veteran players. We've got a guy that's got almost 80 [games of playoff experience] that has been there, he's done it and still gets up and down the ice real well."
Moen, who won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, played 23 games for Dallas this season and one game for the Stars in the first round against the Minnesota Wild, a series Dallas won in six games.
Moen, 34, played in Game 6 against the Wild on the fourth line alongside center Vernon Fiddler with Colton Sceviour on the right, the same trio that likely will play in Game 1.
"I love playing in the playoffs," Moen said. "It's a whole other beast. It's exciting, it's physical, it's fast and if you can't get up for a playoff game, you probably shouldn't be playing hockey."
With Moen likely in, Valeri Nichushkin, Dallas' first-round pick (No. 10) in the 2013 NHL Draft, likely will be a healthy scratch for a second consecutive game.
Ruff is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairs identical to that Game 6 win against the Wild.
Goaltender Kari Lehtonen was first off the ice at morning skate and will start his second consecutive game and fifth game of the postseason.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock faced Dallas five times in the regular season and St. Louis won four of those games, but Hitchcock and the Blues will not let that affect their mindset.
"You've got to have a balance," Hitchcock said, "because they're the No. 1 scoring team in the league now and in the regular season because they make you pay for making big errors. They score off the rush but they score in the tough areas, too. There's a balance that has to come into our game if we expect to win."
Hitchcock is keeping his forward lines and defensive pairs identical from the 3-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 7 of the first round on Tuesday at Scottrade Center.
Goaltender Brian Elliott was first off the ice at morning skate and will start his eighth consecutive game in the postseason for the Blues.
Here are the projected lineups:
Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko
Alex Steen - Patrik Berglund - David Backes
Robby Fabbri - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer
Steve Ott - Kyle Brodziak - Scottie Upshall
Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo
Joel Edmundson - Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko
Scratched: Robert Bortuzzo, Chris Butler, Peter Harrold, Dmitrij Jaskin, Anders Nilsson, Magnus Paajarvi, Ty Rattie, Ryan Reaves.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Patrick Sharp
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky
Travis Moen - Vernon Fiddler - Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski - John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Kris Russell - Jason Demers
Injured: Tyler Seguin (Achilles).
Scratched: Jordie Benn, Patrik Nemeth, Valeri Nichushkin, Jamie Oleksiak.
Status report: Jordie Benn will be a healthy scratch for the sixth time in the playoffs. Nemeth and Oleksiak will be healthy scratches for a seventh consecutive game.
Who's hot: The Blues have won four of their past five trips to Dallas dating back to Oct. 28, 2014. … Shattenkirk led St. Louis with five points (three assists) in the five games against Dallas this season. … Stastny led the Blues with four assists against the Stars this season. … Jamie Benn and Goligoski each had five points against St. Louis this season. … Benn had at least one point in all six games in the first round and has a point in 11 of his 12 career playoff games. … Sharp has 85 points (46 goals, 39 assists) in 135 career playoff games. … Spezza has 61 points (21 goals, 40 assists) in 62 career postseason games.