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Stars-Blues Game 4 Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Thursday, May 5

7:00 p.m.


Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars are looking to put Tuesday’s 6-1 loss in Game 3 behind them and move onto Game 4. Win that game and the series will be down to a best-of-three and the Stars will have regained home ice advantage. But lose Game 4 and they’ll be in a tough 3-1 hole in the series.

“We just need to keep our focus and go out there and play better,” said Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen. “That's the bottom line. That's our plan, everybody in this room, to play well [Thursday], and get back to winning and go from there.”

The Stars will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s game, which was a rough one. But Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he’s not hitting the panic button over one game. It’s the playoffs and there are ups and downs.

“I talked about how exciting it is – it’s 2-1. When you lose, you feel like ugh, this is going to be tough. And when you win you feel like you’re never going to lose,” Ruff said. “It’s the highs and lows of a playoff series. It’s my job to balance some of that emotion and some of that energy and talk about what a great time of year it is and make some adjustments. It’s going to be hard. It’s going to be really hard. But it’s fun at the same time.”

The Stars held an optional practice Wednesday. Injured Stars forwards Tyler Seguin (lower body) and Patrick Eaves (leg) are still skating in Frisco and will not play in Game 4, Ruff said.

Injuries: RW Patrick Eaves (leg) and C Tyler Seguin (lower body) are out.

The Blues have won two straight games in the series and have a 2-1 lead, but they still know there is a long way to go. A Dallas win Thursday, and the series takes on an entirely different look.

“We have a 2-1 lead in a playoff series that's still very much up in the air,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They get the game [Thursday], and they do have home ice back again.

“It’s a 7-game series. Someone has to win four games. How we get there, we expected this thing to go the distance. We have to be mentally prepared to go the distance. This is far from over for both teams. We played better in Game 2, we played better in Game 3, and we’re going to have to play better in Game 4.”

The Blues are expecting a big push from the Stars, who will want to avoid a 3-1 hole in the series.

“We know they're so hungry, and they'll come out to even this series up,” said Blues forward Jaden Schwartz. “We're not going to change anything. We're going to make sure we come out with a similar start. Just kind of keep building off what we did [Tuesday] night. We're not going to take anything for granted, take anything lightly. We know how hungry they're going to come out.”

Injuries: None

*The Stars have not lost three consecutive games since they went 0-3-1 from Feb. 25 to Mar. 1 during the regular season.

*The Stars have allowed four goals or more in five of nine playoff games and four of their past five playoff games.

*The Stars’ .889 team save percentage ranks last among the teams remaining in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

*The Blues’ .927 save percentage ranks third among teams still in the playoffs.

*The Blues are 4-14 (28.6 percent) on the power play in the series.

*The Stars are 0-11 on the power play in the series.

*Both teams have scored 5 goals during five-on-five play in the series.

*Dallas Jamie Benn and St. Louis’ David Backes and Vladimir Tarasenko were tied for fourth in playoff goals with 5 heading into Wednesday’s games.

Game 1 – Apr. 29: Stars 2, Blues 1

Game 2 – May 1: Blues 4, Stars 3 (OT)

Game 3 – May 3: Blues 6, Stars 1

Game 4 – May 5: Dallas at St. Louis, 7:00 p.m.

Game 5 – May 7: St. Louis at Dallas, Noon

*Game 6 – May 9: Dallas at St. Louis, TBD

*Game 7 – May 11: St. Louis at Dallas, TBD

*If necessary

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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