St. Louis Blues Look to Replicate Previous Success in Post-Christmas Matchup with Dallas Stars


The St. Louis Blues played perhaps their best game of the season two weeks ago against the league-best Dallas Stars. Can they repeat that success in another Saturday matchup with Dallas?

On December 12, the St. Louis Blues were in a real rut, having lost four of their past five, with embarrassing losses to the league-worst Toronto Maple Leafs and struggling Philadelphia Flyers mixed in. Heading into a game with the Dallas Stars, who had a 21-5-2 record at the time, things didn’t look good for the broken down Blues.

The Blues made a major statement, though, shutting out Dallas in a 3-0 victory that was filled with offense and physicality. It may have been the Blues’ best game of the season so far, and since then they’ve looked much better, winning four of their past six. Now, exactly two weeks to the day of the defining victory, it will be interesting to see if the Blues can replicate their success against Dallas, a team that still has the league’s best record at 26-7-2.

Saturday’s matchup will be another fun meeting between the two players who are currently tied for the NHL lead in goals (22), Dallas’s Jamie Benn and the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko. Relatively speaking, Benn has cooled down, as he has two goals in his past six games, both of which came on December 19 against Montreal. Meanwhile, Tarasenko has eight goals in 10 games since December 5, so he’ll be a handful for the Stars to deal with. Dallas also has Tyler Seguin, who’s no slouch himself with 19 goals on the year, so the Blues’ defense will have to come back in full force if they’re to compete with the Stars on Saturday.

The Blues have been off for the past three days, so there’s not much of a way to know how the lineup is going to look Saturday until the morning skate takes place. The biggest question marks are whether center Kyle Brodziak and defenseman Carl Gunnarsson will be ready to go against Dallas, as both players have dealt with injuries in recent games, with Brodziak missing the past three and Gunnarsson missing Tuesday’s win over Boston. Scott Gomez and Robert Bortuzzo will presumably be the players to come out of the lineup if Brodziak and Gunnarsson are ready, though Bortuzzo played a fantastic game on Tuesday and might be able to bump Joel Edmundson from the lineup even if Gunnarsson is back.

Another factor that could affect things Saturday would be if forward Jordan Caron is recalled from AHL Chicago. Caron was demoted to the minors after making his Blues debut on Tuesday, though the move was beneficial for salary cap and waivers purposes, so it’s possible that he could be back with the NHL team as they regroup on Saturday. If by some chance Caron ends up in the lineup against Dallas, he’d likely be playing on the fourth line with Dmitrij Jaskin and Ryan Reaves again, sending Scottie Upshall back up to the third line.

Jake Allen has a good chance to be in goal against the Stars after shutting out the Boston Bruins on Tuesday. With that said, the Blues play in Dallas on Sunday, so Brian Elliott will likely be in goal for one of the two games against the Stars. It’s possible, then, that coach Ken Hitchcock could decide to start Elliott on Saturday and give Allen the Sunday start.

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Here’s how the Blues’ lineup could look on Saturday if they stick with the same group from Tuesday:

Magnus PaajarviPaul StastnyVladimir Tarasenko

Alexander Steen-David BackesTroy Brouwer

Robby FabbriJori LehteraDmitrij Jaskin

Scottie UpshallScott GomezRyan Reaves

Jay BouwmeesterAlex Pietrangelo

Colton ParaykoKevin Shattenkirk

Joel EdmundsonRobert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen