Blues-Stars Preview

While the St. Louis Blues’ best scorer is on the shelf, the

Dallas Stars’ top two have played a role in their recent surge.

The Stars seek a fifth win in six games and a season high-tying

third in a row in Sunday night’s visit from the Alexander

Steen-less Blues.

Steen is out indefinitely after being placed on injured reserve

Saturday because of a concussion, but St. Louis managed to pull out

a victory without their 24-goal scorer. The forward also has 38

points and ranks second in the league with six game-winning

goals.

“He’s such a big part of our team,” said forward Jaden Schwartz,

who is taking Steen’s spot on the Blues’ top line with David Backes

and T.J. Oshie. “He plays in all situations. He’s a big leader, so

it’s definitely tough.”

The Blues (25-7-5) rallied from a late two-goal deficit against

Chicago on Friday and took a 6-5 shootout victory. Vladimir

Tarasenko, who matched a career high with three points, and Patrik

Berglund scored St. Louis’ two goals in the final four minutes of

regulation.

“We sure do miss some great and important players, but we still

have to get points, win games,” Berglund said. “Obviously, a good

start for that is to come back against this team and in this

building.”

The win helped St. Louis improve to 6-1-2 in its last nine but

the Blues will next face a Stars team that’s outscored opponents

18-8 during a 4-0-1 stretch. Dallas’ second-leading scorer Jamie

Benn had the opening goal in a 4-1 victory over Nashville on

Friday, and Erik Cole scored a pair in the second period.

Benn has three goals and two assists in the last four games, and

leading scorer Tyler Seguin has seven goals and seven assists in

his past 10. Seguin has 10 of those points during a 5-1-1

stretch.

Seguin, though, was held without a point and Been had just an

assist in a 6-1 drubbing in St. Louis on Nov. 23. Oshie had a goal

and an assist in the Blues’ sixth win in the last seven matchups

with the Stars.

Chris Stewart also scored in that game, and he has 11 goals and

three assists in his last 15 against Dallas (19-12-6).

“If we’re going to keep progressing, we’re going to have to get

points against the teams that are above us (in the standings),”

coach Lindy Ruff said. “We know that they’ve been one of the top

teams. They’ve been very consistent through the first 40 (games).

We know we’re going to have our hands full.”

St. Louis has won two of its last three trips to Dallas but fell

4-1 in the most recent one March 3.

It’s unknown if former Stars forward Derek Roy (flu-like

symptoms) will return for this one. Roy has seven goals and three

assists in his eight career games against Dallas.

Vladimir Sobotka might be out after re-aggravating an upper-body

injury in the morning practice Saturday, and defenseman Roman Polak

(lower body) is not expected to return.

The status of Dallas winger Alex Chiasson (illness) is unknown

while defensemen Sergei Gonchar (concussion) and Trevor Daley

(lower body) are expected to remain out and Stephane Robidas (leg)

is likely out for the season.