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Stars-Blues Preview

GAME: Dallas Stars (22-10-1) at St. Louis Blues (8-20-4).

TIME: Monday, 8 p.m. EST.

St. Louis has not been a welcome destination in recent years for the Dallas Stars.

The Stars look for just their fourth win in 14 games there when they meet the Blues in the first matchup this season between the former division rivals.

Dallas has won three straight overall against the Blues, who have the fewest wins in the league but are one point ahead of the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets in the Central Division.

It has been a different story for the Stars in St. Louis. Since a 2-1 win on Jan. 14, 1998, Dallas has won only three times in 13 visits, scoring more than three goals just twice in that span.

The Stars saw their three-game home winning streak snapped with a 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday. Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott scored in the third period to give Dallas a 2-1 lead, but Canadian Olympic team selection Marty Turco gave up goals 22 seconds apart late in the contest.

The loss was just the Stars' second in nine home games - both to Phoenix.

"It's not what we did but what we didn't do," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "We have impact players that didn't make an impact on the game. We gift-wrapped it for them. ... Those guys played last night. We should've come out guns-a-blazing. But we played like it was a nice Christmas game."

Dallas should have leading goal scorer Jere Lehtinen back in the lineup after missing one game with the flu. He has seven goals in his last seven games, and one in each of his last two against the Blues.

Turco did not make the trip because of the flu, meaning Johan Hedberg will likely get the start. Hedberg is 3-2-0 with a 2.18 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and has one career shutout against the Blues. Earlier Monday, Dallas recalled Dan Ellis from Iowa of the American Hockey League.

The loss to the Coyotes also marked the end of Mike Modano's 10-game points streak. Modano, the franchise leader in goals, assists and points, needs three goals to match his output from 2003-04 when he scored just 14 in 76 games.

The Blues will try to string together back-to-back wins for just the second time this season.

Doug Weight and Petr Cajanek, named last week to the U.S. and Czech Olympic teams, respectively, scored in a shootout Friday to give St. Louis a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.

"I just tried to be calm," Cajanek said of his game-winner. "I was lucky to score."

The win was the second in three games for the Blues, matching their victory output in the previous 12. St. Louis has not won two straight since road wins Nov. 16-19 over Columbus and the Detroit Red Wings.

The Blues have killed off 43 of 50 short-handed situations over the last eight games.

STANDINGS: Stars - 45 points, 1st place (tied), Pacific Division. Blues - 20 points, 4th place, 31 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Stars - Lehtinen, 19 goals; Modano, 22 assists and 33 points; Ott, 77 PIM. Blues - Mike Sillinger and Dean McAmmond, 11 goals; Weight, 20 assists and 26 points; Jamal Mayers, 81 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Stars - Power play: 15.8 percent (35 for 221), 19th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.4 percent (178 for 211), 5th. Blues - Power play: 15.2 percent (34 for 224), 22nd (tied). Penalty killing: 81.4 percent (166 for 204), 21st.

GOALTENDERS: Stars - Hedberg (4-1-0, 3.72); Ellis (no appearances). Blues - Jason Bacashihua (2-1-0, 3.68); Reinhard Divis (0-3-0, 4.64).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Stars, 3-1.

LAST MEETING: March 20, 2004; Stars, 3-1. At Dallas, Stu Barnes and Lehtinen scored 27 seconds apart midway through the third period to lift the Stars.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Stars - 12-4-0 on the road; Blues - 4-11-2 at home.

Associated Press
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