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Stars need to beat Blues to climb into top 8 in West

by John Kreiser /

STARS (22-18-3) at BLUES (25-16-2)


Last 10: Dallas 6-4-0; St. Louis 8-2-0

Season series: The Dallas Stars are making their only visit of the season to Scottrade Center. The St. Louis Blues split a pair of games in Dallas.

Big story: Both teams are coming off games on Thursday night, but while the Blues get to stay home after a 2-1 shootout win against Phoenix, the Stars had to travel after beating Vancouver 5-1 at American Airlines Arena. The Blues are a solid sixth in the Western Conference; the Stars can jump the Columbus Blue Jackets for eighth place with a victory.

Team Scope:

Stars: The Stars managed to stay afloat with starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen sidelined by a groin injury, but they were glad to have him back Thursday night -- he made 37 saves and kept his team in the game before Dallas blew it open with four third-period goals.

"It took me a little bit to kind of get comfortable, but I had lots of energy and I was trying to contain that and not be too excited," Lehtonen said. "It was fun to play. Things went well, I got some good bounces and it was nice to get all those goals in the third too."

Blues: St. Louis went home with two points after its shootout win against Phoenix, but coach Ken Hitchcock was irate afterward -- he was furious that a cross-checking penalty wasn't called against Phoenix forward Martin Hanzal on the play that led to the Coyotes' tying goal with 67 seconds remaining.

"We could have lost a player," said Hitchcock, who was assessed a game misconduct. "Never mind they scored the goal. We could have lost a player, and that bothers me. When you're killing a penalty, you're trying to clear a puck, you're in a very vulnerable position. That one bothered me."

Who's hot: Ray Whitney scored a goal Thursday to extend his points streak to six games, during which he has four goals and six assists. Jamie Benn has three goals and four points in Dallas' past two games. … Blues goaltender Brian Elliott stopped 33 shots through 65 minutes and made three more saves in the shootout to improve to 7-1-0 in April.

Injury report: Dallas is without rookie forwards Alex Chiasson (shoulder) and Lane MacDermid (chest); both are day to day. … St. Louis is playing without forward Scott Nichol (lower body) and T.J. Oshie (ankle surgery), as well as goaltender Jaroslav Halak (groin).

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