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Second Round

Stars may break up struggling top line for Game 4 against Blues

Radulov, Seguin, Benn have combined for three goals in Western series

by Mike Zeisberger @Zeisberger / Staff Writer

DALLAS - - Jim Montgomery is considering breaking up the Dallas Stars first line of Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn heading into Game 4 of their Western Conference Second Round against the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN, SN, TVAS).

The line has combined for three goals in the first three games of this best-of-7 series. St. Louis leads 2-1.

"You always look at everything," the Dallas coach said Tuesday. "The idea of splitting them up is something that I toy with every game."


[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Stars series coverage]


Benn and Radulov each has a power-play goal in the series. Seguin's only goal in the series tied the score at 3-3 at 15:32 of the third period in Game 3. Montgomery pointed out that it came in the midst of a line change.

"It was interesting enough, on [Seguin's] goal, Roope [Hintz] had changed quickly and [Seguin] got out there with -- I don't know who was out there with [Mats] Zuccarello, but [Miro Heiskanen] was the one who made the play."

Pat Maroon's goal with 1:38 remaining gave the Blues the 4-3 victory and left Montgomery wondering if a shuffling of his top line was needed.

"They were good on special teams, you know," Montgomery said. "But as a line, when they were out there, I still don't think they're generating enough."

Video: Montgomery says Stars 'need to be more desperate'

Montgomery need look no further than St. Louis coach Craig Berube to see how moving forwards around can spark a team. Berube replaced wing David Perron with Jaden Schwartz alongside center Ryan O'Reilly and wing Vladimir Tarasenko for Game 3. Schwartz responded with a goal and an assist.

"Coach Berube did a real good job," Montgomery said. "Schwartz has been really hard. His explosiveness off faceoffs and his faceoff intensity and his ability to win one-on-one battles with his foot speed and his leverage, it just made that [O'Reilly] line a little more dynamic. And Perron was really good on the line he went to too. Both lines got better."

The Stars have been in this position before, having trailed the Nashville Predators 2-1 in their Western Conference First Round before winning three straight to advance.

"We were in this situation in the first round," Benn said. "We're going to continue to try and get better and work at our game. We have a big Game 4 coming up.

"The playoffs are pretty intense, pretty crazy," he added. "You're going to win games and you've got to move on, (and) you're going to lose games and you've got to move on. We're looking forward to the next one and excited to play in front of our fans again."


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