STARS (16-15-8) at BLUES (20-14-5)
8 p.m. ET; FS-MW, FS-SW+, NHL.TV
Stars team scope
The Dallas Stars begin a three-game trip Saturday looking to rise in the crowded Western Conference standings. The Stars, 4-1-2 in their past seven games, are 12th in the conference with 40 points, five behind the St. Louis Blues for third place in the Central Division and three behind the Vancouver Canucks for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the conference. "We're lucky we're not really playing catch-up because we're in a group of maybe five teams fighting for two spots," center Jason Spezza said. "If anything, we've got a chance to play good hockey here down the stretch and reward ourselves going into the playoffs playing good hockey. This is a big game for us. It's the last time we see these guys, so we can close the gap to three points, or if they win, they open it up to seven, which becomes difficult." The Stars will be without forward Jamie Benn (foot) for a second straight game, and he is not expected to play in the remaining road games on the trip, at the Los Angeles Kings on Monday or at the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. Benn did skate Saturday morning. "We miss his presence, from whether it's a threat to score a goal or whether a threat to play physical," coach Lindy Ruff said. "Jamie can play the game a lot of different ways." Goaltender Kari Lehtonen will make his fifth straight start, sixth straight appearance.
Blues team scope
The Blues will turn to goaltender Carter Hutton on Saturday. No. 1 Jake Allen was back on the ice after his first child, a daughter, was born Friday. There was some question whether fatigue from lack of sleep would be an issue for Allen, but coach Ken Hitchcock said the decision to start Hutton already had been made. "[Allen's] still available, but we didn't know the time frame of the baby being born, so we wanted to get Carter ready," Hitchcock said. "We practiced hard with him yesterday, got him ready for today. The plan was to play him in this game all along, to be honest with you." The Blues, 15-4-4 on home ice but 2-3-1 in their past six, want to end a six-game streak of alternating wins and losses. "For me, it seems like we're having success one night and guys are feeling pretty confident and sometimes we try and do a little too much," captain Alex Pietrangelo said. "One thing about this group that I love is that everybody sometimes tries to do too much and take everything on their own shoulders, where I look at that as a compliment. Everybody wants to make a difference." The Blues are 11-5-2 after a loss.
Stars projected lineup
Antoine Roussel -- Jason Spezza -- Tyler Seguin
Patrick Sharp -- Radek Faksa -- Brett Ritchie
Lauri Korpikoski -- Cody Eakin -- Patrick Eaves
Curtis McKenzie -- Devin Shore -- Adam Cracknell
Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg
Johnny Oduya -- Jordie Benn
Dan Hamhuis -- Stephen Johns
Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Jiri Hudler
Injured: Jamie Benn (foot), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)
Blues projected lineup
Alexander Steen -- Paul Stastny -- Nail Yakupov
Robby Fabbri -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko
Jaden Schwartz -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron
Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves
Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo
Brad Hunt -- Kevin Shattenkirk
Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko
Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin
Injured: Robert Bortuzzo (lower body), Carl Gunnarsson (lower body)
Cracknell will replace Hudler in the Stars lineup. ... Yakupov was skating with Steen and Stastny at the morning skate, but Hitchcock said they'll take their lineup into warmups, which means Jaskin still could play. Gunnarsson did not skate.
Seguin has seven points (four goals, three assists) in a five-game point streak and has 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists) in his past 17 games. … Spezza has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his past six games. … Tarasenko has three goals in his past two games after scoring two in his previous eight games. … Fabbri has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past four games.