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Morning Skate: Projected Lineups, Notes for Stars vs. Blues

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars will look to keep rolling in the month of February when they play another key divisional game, taking on the St. Louis Blues tonight at Scottrade Center.

The Stars have won five straight on the road, four straight overall and are 7-1-0 in their past eight games.

They take on a St. Louis team that is six points behind them in the standings and – if the Stars don’t win the division – a possible opponent in the first round of the playoffs.

This is the Stars’ sixth game against the Central Division this month, and they are 5-1-0 so far. For the season, they are 13-5-1 against the Central and their .711 points percentage is tops among teams within the division.

“It’s been hard. There have been no easy games,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of his team’s success within the division. “We’ve won some overtime games; we’ve won some tight games. It’s you find a way to win. There’s been no domination, but we’ve had success.”

The Stars held an optional skate this morning, so there were no line rushes or defense pairings.

Kari Lehtonen is the likely starter in goal tonight. He’s won his last three starts, stopping 101 of 109 shots. He shut out the Blues earlier this season, making 22 saves in the Stars’ 3-0 win on Dec. 27. He is 13-6-2 against St. Louis in his career with a 2.10 goals-against average and .925 save percentage.

Colton Sceviour skated late this morning, so he could be a scratch tonight and Curtis McKenzie could be coming in on the fourth line.

The defense will likely remain the same with Jamie Oleksiak and Jyrki Jokipakka sitting out as scratches.

Brian Elliott will make his 15th straight start for the Blues. He has been outstanding since Jake Allen went out with injury in early January, posting a 9-3-2 record with a 1.72 goals-against average and .946 save percentage in 14 starts.

“He’s been our best player probably for that whole stretch,” Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester told the team’s official site. “At the start of the year, he wasn’t playing a whole lot, but he was practicing hard and hanging in there. You never want to see anyone get hurt, but when Jake went down, he got an opportunity, and he’s done what everyone in here knows he can do. Everybody is happy to see him do it.”

The Blues are riding a four-game points streak (3-0-1) and are 7-2-2 in their past eleven games.

Who: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues

Where: Scottrade Center

When: 7:00 p.m.


Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves

Antoine RousselCody EakinPatrick Sharp

Valeri NichushkinMattias JanmarkAles Hemsky

Vernon FiddlerRadek FaksaCurtis McKenzie

Alex Goligoski
John Klingberg

Johnny OduyaJason Demers

Patrik NemethJordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen

Antti Niemi

Travis Moen (lower body), Jason Spezza (upper body)

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Jyrki Jokipakka, Colton Sceviour

Patrik Berglund – Alexander Steen – David Backes

Jaden Schwartz – Jori Lehtera – Vladimir Tarasenko

Robby Fabbri – Paul Stastny – Troy Brouwer

Scottie Upshall – Kyle Brodziak – Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester – Kevin Shattenkirk

Carl Gunnarsson – Colton Parayko

Joel Edmundson – Robert Bortuzzo

Brian Elliott

Pheonix Copley

Injured: Jake Allen (lower body), Alex Pietrangelo (knee injury),
Steve Ott (hamstring)

Scratched: Peter Harrold, Dmitrij Jaskin, Magnus Paajarvi

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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