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Stars-Blues Game 7 Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Wednesday, May 11

7 p.m.

TV: NBCSN, Sportsnet, TVA Sports

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars needed a win Monday in St. Louis to stay alive in the series and they got it, winning 3-2 behind a 35-save performance from goaltender Kari Lehtonen. Now it is on to the seventh and deciding game Wednesday night in Dallas.

“We got to where we want to be, and that’s a Game 7 in our building. Our focus is on that and get ready for this one-game showdown,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “It’s a best-of-one now. We just got to bring our best game with these players and play a full 60 minutes.”

Home ice hasn’t mattered much in the series so far. Both teams are 1-2 at home, but the Stars still like having the game at American Airlines Center, where they had the second-best home record in the league this season.

“It’s why you play the 82 games [in the regular season], to give yourself home ice,” said Stars center Jason Spezza. “Home ice isn’t the all and be-all, but it does help. We’ve been good at home, and we like playing in front of our fans. We’ve earned the right to have the game here.”

Stars center Tyler Seguin (lower body) took part in Tuesday’s optional practice in Frisco but is not ready to return. Left wing Travis Moen is out with a hand injury. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said there are other players with bumps and bruises, but they all are available to play.

Wednesday will be the first Game 7 the Stars have played at American Airlines Center.

Injuries: C Tyler Seguin (lower body) and LW Travis Moen (hand) are out.

The Blues missed a chance to close out the Stars Monday in St. Louis, and now it is off to Dallas for a seventh game in the series. This will be the Blues’ second Game 7 in this year’s playoffs. They defeated Chicago, 3-2, in St. Louis in the deciding game of their first-round series. They’ll have to win Game 7 on the road this time.

“We obviously know the stage,” said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. “It's going to be a little different now that we're on the road, but I think overall, we know what the pressure is, we know what it's going to be. We've just got to go out there and treat it like any other game.”

The Blues are 4-2 on the road in this year’s playoffs, including 2-1 at American Airlines Center in this series.

“We're confident all year playing on the road,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. “I think road and home's not relevant anymore. The size of the rinks are the same, buildings are the same. ... It's all the same now. I don't think it matters.”

Hitchcock wouldn’t reveal his starting goaltender for Wednesday’s game. Brian Elliott has started every game in the playoffs but was pulled in the first period of Monday’s Game 6 loss and replaced by Jake Allen.

“I’ll let you know tomorrow,” Hitchcock said when asked about the goaltending on Tuesday.

Injuries: None

*The home team is 95-68 (.583) all-time in Game 7 in the NHL.

*There have been two Game 7s this year and the home team is 1-1.

*Stars coach Lindy Ruff has a career record of 0-3 in Game 7.

*Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has 4-2 career record in Game 7.

*The Stars are 3-3 at home in the playoffs, including 1-2 vs. the Blues.

*St. Louis is 4-2 on the road in the playoffs.

*The Stars are 2-6 on the power play in the past three games of the series and 5-6 on the penalty kill.

*Stars captain Jamie Benn is tied for the NHL playoff scoring lead with 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists).

*According to Elias Sports Bureau, St. Louis’ Troy Brouwer will extend his NHL record by playing in a Game 7 for an 8th consecutive playoff series.

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: Stars 3, Blues (OT)

Game 5 – May 7: Blues 4, Stars 1

Game 6 – May 9: Stars 3, Blues 2

Game 7 – May 11: St. Louis at Dallas, 7 p.m.

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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