The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues are down to a best-of-five series after splitting the first two games in St. Louis. Now, the series shifts to Dallas starting tonight (7 p.m. CT; NBCSN; KTCK) with Game 3 at American Airlines Center.
Home-ice advantage tilted the Stars' way after they tied the series 1-1 with a 4-2 victory in St. Louis Saturday, and they want to make the most of that opportunity.
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"We got what we wanted in St. Louis; we got a split. But it's only good if you're able to take advantage of home ice," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "The Blues haven't lost on the road this year in the playoffs, and we know that. They're a really good hockey team and a really good road team because of the way that they play."
The Blues won all three road games in their first-round series win over Winnipeg, taking Games 1, 2, and 5 in the Jets' barn. After getting a split in Nashville in the first round, the Stars lost Game 3 in Dallas but turned around the series with a 5-1 win in Game 4 to kick off a stretch of three straight victories to take the series in six games.
"We didn't get the result we wanted (in Game 3 against Nashville), but we were the better team, and we continued to get better," Montgomery said. "We need to continue to get better in his series because I thought St. Louis improved a lot from Game 1 to Game 2 in a lot of areas and we have to do the same."
Video: Stars look to be more disciplined in Game 3 at home
"We are taking it one game at a time," added Stars center Tyler Seguin. "We are playing in our rink now. Obviously, we love our atmosphere and love our fans. We want to have that start we had in Game 4 last series, come out flying and see what happens."
There are no lineup changes expected for the Stars. The lines and defense pairs at this morning's skate were the same as those used in the previous two games in the series. That includes a top line of Jamie Benn, Seguin, and Alexander Radulov.
Montgomery said Sunday he was looking for more from that top line which has been held off the scoresheet at 5-on-5 play so far in the series.
"That was pretty much simply the message," Benn said. "We're going to shoot it straight around here, and myself, Tyler, and Rads are looking to put out a better effort here tonight."
The second line will have Jason Dickinson, Roope Hintz, and Mats Zuccarello. Those three players combined for seven points (two goals, five assists) in Saturday's game. Radek Faksa will center Andrew Cogliano and Blake Comeau on the third line and the fourth line will have Mattias Janmark, Justin Dowling and Jason Spezza.
The expected defense pairs are Esa Lindell-John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen-Roman Polak, and Taylor Fedun-Ben Lovejoy. Lindell logged a game-high 30:13 of ice time in Saturday's Game 2 win.
Ben Bishop gets the start in goal. Bishop, who is coming off a 32-save effort in Game 2, ranks third among playoff goalies with a 2.05 goals-against average and second with a .938 save percentage.
Blues shuffling parts of lineup for Game 3
The Blues are making some tweaks to their lineup for Game 3.
Jaden Schwartz is expected to move up to the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Vladimir Tarasenko. David Perron, who was on the top line, will move to right wing on the second line with Oskar Sundqvist at center and Brayden Schenn at left wing. Robert Bortuzzo, who has been a scratch the last four games, will come in on defense for Joel Edmundson.
Video: Hintz nets a pair as Stars beat Blues in Game 2, 4-2
Despite the Game 2 loss to the Stars, the Blues are confident as the series shifts to Dallas..
"It's 1-1, we've been playing well on the road, especially in the playoffs," said Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo. "We had some success playing in Winnipeg. So, we feel confident going [into Dallas], another tough building to play in, but we feel confident after what we were able to do last series."
Game 3: St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars (Series tied 1-1)
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:00 p.m.
Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM/96.7-FM
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Jason Dickinson - Roope Hintz - Mats Zuccarello
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Mattias Janmark - Justin Dowling - Jason Spezza
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Roman Polak
Taylor Fedun - Ben Lovejoy
Scratched: Tyler Pitlick, Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Ritchie, Julius Honka, Landon Bow, Joel Hanley, Dillon Heatherington, Gavin Bayreuther, Denis Gurianov, Joel L'Esperance, Nick Caamano, Adam Mascherin
Injured: Jamie Oleksiak (lower body)
Injured Reserve: Martin Hanzal (back), Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), Marc Methot (knee surgery)
Blues projected lineup
Jaden Schwartz - Ryan O'Reilly - Vladimir Tarasenko
Brayden Schenn - Oskar Sundqvist - David Perron
Pat Maroon - Tyler Bozak - Robert Thomas
Robby Fabbri - Ivan Barbashev - Alexander Steen
Carl Gunnarsson - Alex Pietrangelo
Jay Bouwmeester - Colton Parayko
Vince Dunn - Robert Bortuzzo
Scratched: Joel Edmundson, Michael Del Zotto, Sammy Blais, Zach Sanford, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Jared Coreau
For complete postseason coverage, visit Stars Playoff Central.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.
Mark Stepneski has covered the Stars for DallasStars.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.