St. Louis Blues Desperately in Search of Win Against League-Leading Dallas Stars


After a crushing loss to a mediocre Philadelphia Flyers team on Thursday, the St. Louis Blues desperately need to upset the league-leading Dallas Stars.

After a Thursday loss to the Philadelphia Flyers, who entered the contest sitting in sixth place in their division with an 11-11-6 record, the St. Louis Blues seem to be in a worse place than they’ve been all season. They’ve now gone since November 10–a period of 14 games–without collecting back-to-back wins, and they’ll have perhaps their toughest challenge of the season thus far on Saturday as they face the Dallas Stars.

Dallas has broken through in a major way during the 2015-16 season, and they now own the best record in the NHL at 21-5-2. With as good as the Central Division is often talked about being, it’s quite surprising that the slumping 16-9-4 Blues are still in second place to the Stars in the seven-team division. On the bright side, Dallas has lost two of its past four (albeit in overtime) to two teams that haven’t exactly been the greatest this year: the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers. Still, though, Dallas–a group that regularly scores at least three goals a game–will be a tough test for a Blues team that’s scored three or more goals in just one of their past five games.

It figures that after a painfully bad loss to the struggling Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, there will be some type of change in the Blues’ lineup on Saturday. The most likely scapegoat is second-year defenseman Petteri Lindbohm, who had a strong season debut on Tuesday, but made a costly mistake in his own zone that spurned a Flyers goal on Thursday. The Blues will likely insert Robert Bortuzzo, who usually jumps into the lineup when Ken Hitchcock wants to infuse some physicality and checking into the game. While Bortuzzo is most likely to replace Lindbohm, it’s also possible that he could get in for a forward such as Ryan Reaves or Scottie Upshall, as Hitchcock had Bortuzzo start practicing up front this week to put himself in position for more playing time.

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There’s a chance that center Scott Gomez could draw into the lineup, though it’s tough to tell where he would fit. The Blues don’t have too many line combinations left to try out, and with the ship seeming to have sailed on either Jori Lehtera or David Backes contributing from a wing position, there’s not really a logical place for the 5-foot-11, 200-pounder, who is basically restricted to the center position at this point in his career. Thus, the forward combinations will probably remain the same as they’ve been for the past couple games.

Jake Allen will get back between the pipes after giving way to Brian Elliott in Thursday’s loss to Philadelphia. After a brief period of subpar play, Allen looked good in his last start, getting the win and stopping 22 of 23 shots against the Arizona Coyotes. He’ll attempt to build upon that little bounce back against the Stars.

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Here’s how the Blues’ lineup could look against Dallas:

Magnus PaajarviPaul StastnyVladimir Tarasenko

Alexander SteenDavid BackesTroy Brouwer

Dmitrij JaskinJori LehteraRobby Fabbri

Scottie UpshallKyle BrodziakRyan Reaves

Jay BouwmeesterAlex Pietrangelo

Carl GunnarssonKevin Shattenkirk

Robert BortuzzoColton Parayko

Jake Allen