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Stars-Blues Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Saturday, March 12

8:00 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (41-20-8) defeated Chicago 5-2 Friday night at American Airlines Center. The Stars went 2-6 on the power play, and 5-5 on the penalty kill in running their points streak to four games (3-0-1).

“We got done what we wanted to get done,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I thought we slowed their attack, won the special teams battle and got a big team effort from the goaltender through our young defense. I thought our forwards did a heck of a job supporting them.”

With the win, the Stars moved into first place in the Central Division and Western Conference. They lead St. Louis by one point and Chicago by two.

“We're all tight in the standings,” said Stars center Jason Spezza, who registered one goal and one assist. “We had to try to take two points off [Chicago]; now we 've got to try to take two points off St. Louis. We know it's going to go right down to the wire for the division.”

Saturday’s game is the second of a five-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: RW Patrick Sharp (lower body), D John Klingberg (lower body), D Jordie Benn (lower body) and D Jason Demers (shoulder) are out.

The Blues (40-20-9) ran their winning streak to five games with a 5-2 win over Anaheim in St. Louis Friday night. The game was tied 1-1 going into the third period, but the Blues scored two goals 1:04 apart early in the third to take a 3-1 lead. The Blues moved into second place in the Central Division, one point behind the Stars.

"With everything we've gone through, we wake up tomorrow morning in a hockey game for first place," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told media after the game. "Nobody would have thought of that because everything these guys have been through. That's been a feather in their cap. Pretty impressive that we've been able to maintain a competitive level despite missing key guys all year."

The Blues are 10-3-0 in their past 13 games.

Jake Allen, who stopped 26 of 28 shots in Friday’s win over the Ducks, is expected to start in goal Saturday vs. the Stars.

Saturday’s game kicks off a five-game road trip for the Blues.

Injuries: F Alexander Steen (upper body), G Brian Elliott (lower body) and F Steve Ott (hamstring) are out.

*This is the fifth and final meeting between the Stars and Blues this season.

*The Stars are 1-1-2 (4 points) in the season series.

*The Blues are 3-1-0 (6 points) in the season series.

*Dec. 12, at St. Louis: Blues, 3, Stars 0

*Dec. 26, at St. Louis: Blues 3, Stars 2 (SO)

*Dec. 27, at Dallas: Stars 3, Blues 0

*Feb., 16, at St. Louis: Blues 2, Stars 1 (OT)

*The Stars are 10-6-3 since the All-Star break.

*The Blues are 12-4-1 since the break.

*The Stars are 15-7-2 vs. the Central Division.

*The Blues are 15-7-3 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars lead the NHL in goal scoring at 3.20 per game.

*The Blues rank fifth in goals against at 2.38 per game.

*The Stars are 9-30 (30.0 percent) on the power play over the past nine games and rank fifth in the league at 22.3 percent.

*The Blues rank second in the league on the penalty kill at 86.1 percent.

*The Stars are 27-30 (90.0 percent) on the penalty kill over the past nine games and rank 19th in the league at 80.4 percent.

*The Blues rank sixth on the power play at 22.0 percent.

*Stars center Jason Spezza has scored eight goals in the past nine games.

*Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko has five points (three goals, two assists) in the past five games.

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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