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Stars-Blues Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars

Tuesday, October 28, 2014
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (4-2-2) are coming off a 7-5 loss at the New York Islanders Saturday. The regulation loss snapped a five-game points streak for the Stars and a three-game road winning streak as well. The Stars rallied from a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 lead, but New York scored three unanswered goals to take at 6-4 lead.

“I thought we had a pretty good second period and came back, but we had a few breakdowns in the third and it cost us the game,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn.

Tuesday’s game against St. Louis will kick off a stretch of games where the Stars will face several tough Central Division and Western Conference opponents.

“There are no easy games. The parity in the league is outstanding. Every game is tough,” said Stars forward Shawn Horcoff. “But if you look at the situation we’re in, you’ve got to be good in your division. We feel we have a team in here that can challenge for the division. In order to do that, you’ve got to beat your division teams.”

Forward Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip) and defenseman Sergei Gonchar (ankle) both practiced Monday, but neither player is expected to be ready this week.

Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in goal Tuesday.

The Stars are holding their annual Hockey Fights Cancer night presented by UT Southwestern Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center on Tuesday night.

Injuries: RW Valeri Nichushkin (groin/hip), D Sergei Gonchar (ankle) and D Patrik Nemeth (arm laceration) are out.

About the Blues

The Blues (3-3-1) are coming off a 3-2 win over Chicago in St. Louis on Saturday. After giving up an early goal, the Blues scored three straight goals to take a 3-1 lead in the game. The win ended a two-game losing streak for the Blues.

"We took some steps today that look a little like our team, look like the way we can play,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. “We've got something to build on now. We've got a foundation that we can draw information from that we can show the players. We've got some stuff that we can work with now.”

Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who has yet to play this season due to offseason hip surgery, is expected to be in the lineup Tuesday. Forwards Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan Reaves, who both are battling illness, did not practice Monday and are questionable.

Brian Elliot is expected to start in goal for St. Louis.

Injuries: F Ryan Reaves (illness) and Vladimir Tarasenko (illness) are questionable. C Paul Stastny (shoulder) is out.

Series Notes

*This is the first of five meetings between the Stars and Blues this season.

*The Stars were 3-1-1 (7 points) vs. the Blues last season.

*The Blues were 2-2-1 (5 points) vs. the Stars last season.

*The Stars are 103-117-48 all-time vs. St. Louis.

Statistical tidbits

*Through Sunday, the Stars ranked third in scoring at 3.50 goals per game.

*Through Sunday, the Blues ranked fifth in goals against at 2.00 goals per game.

*The Stars rank 28th in goals against at 3.50 per game.

*The Blues rank 23rd in goal scoring at 2.29 per game.

*The Blues have scored two goals or fewer in four of their seven games and have been shut out twice.

*The Stars have scored four goals or more in four of their eight games.

*The Blues have allowed two goals or fewer in four of their seven games.

*The Stars have scored on the power play in five straight games and are 6-20 (30.0 percent) on the PP during that stretch.

*The Blues have allowed a power play goal in four straight games and are 7-12 (58.3 percent) on the penalty kill during that stretch.

*Stars forward Tyler Seguin is on a six-game points streak (six goals, seven assists).

*Stars captain Jamie Benn is on a six-game points streak (five goals, five assists).

*Stars forward Jason Spezza is on a five-game points streak (two goals, eight assists).

*Jaden Schwartz leads the Blues in goals (five) and points (eight).

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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