The Dallas Stars are playing strong hockey thanks to young call-up Richard Bachman. Will the Blues make the rookie look like an all-star tonight, or will the power play finally get some juice?
Note: this is a nationally televised game on Versus tonight with an early 6:30 start time.
T.J. Oshie's wrist injury's a blow for more than just him. He's had issues with it for the pst few games, and now he'll be sat for tonight and Tuesday's tilt against the Detroit Red Wings. That's unfortunate for the team on many levels: he's part of a top line who, with Alex Steen and David Backes, have combined for an impressive 34 goals. He's out there on the power play - though God knows it literally cannot get any worse as it's still last in the league. And, this might be the biggest blow of all, he's the most easily recognizable guy on the team to the Versus crew aside from goaltender Jaroslav Halak. That might be a bigger problem tomorrow night against Detroit than it is tonight versus the Dallas Stars, but still, whoever the color guy is for tonight's broadcast is going to have to work overtime to think of fun facts about the other players on the team.
Don't worry - I'm sure they'll talk about Ryan Reaves' dad again, so there's always that.
The Dallas Stars enter tonight's game three spots behind the fourth place Blues, though just three points separate the two teams. Many expected that once starting goaltender Kari Lehtonen went down, that the Stars'd plummet to earth. They showed signs of that until Richard Bachman was placed in net over the struggling Andrew Raycroft. All of a sudden, Dallas finds itself in a back-and-forth with the San Jose Sharks for the top spot in the Pacific Division. Both teams are in action tonight, and both are tied with 41 points.
The Blues, for whatever reason, have issues with the Dallas Stars. Unlike the Colorado Avalanche - who the Blues can't beat at home - their troubles with the Stars are home and away. They've lost five in a row against Dallas, though that was with Lehtonen in net. Bachman has never faced the Blues, and the team might be able to exploit that. Of course, Jaroslav Halak, tonight's starter, has never beaten the Stars, so the exploitation could go both ways.
The Blues are 13-3-1 at home so far this year, so Dallas will be coming into one of the toughest barns in the NHL. Factor that into the fact that the Blues have turned into one of the smartest and stingiest teams in the NHL - their goals per game is second to only the Boston Bruins and they lead the league in the fewest number of shots allowed per game - and the Stars might have problems continuing their win streak against the Blues.