Blues-Stars Preview

The Dallas Stars have six goals and eight assists from their top

line, and that unit doesn’t even feature top goal-scorer Brenden


The Stars will look to maintain that kind of production and

continue their best start in four seasons Saturday night when they

host the St. Louis Blues.

Dallas (3-0-0) is off to its best start since winning its first

five games in 2006-07, and it has been highlighted by the work of

the top line of Brad Richards, James Neal and Loui Eriksson.

Richards is among the league leaders with seven points, Neal has

four and Eriksson three goals.

“It’s very important at the start of the season to gain some

momentum,” Richards said. “We’re fortunate we have the same guys

(on his line) from last year, nothing’s changed. We’re a year older

and more experienced. We’ve talked about it. We’re good friends and

we talk a lot about the game.”

There’s also terrific chemistry on the line centered by Mike

Ribeiro, who has five assists to match Richards for the team lead.

Morrow has been the beneficiary four times for goals on a line that

includes newcomer Adam Burish.

The Stars will be trying to end their poor play against St.

Louis (2-1-0) over the previous two seasons, with Dallas going

2-5-1 in those games. Richards had six assists last season as the

Stars went 1-2-1 while Morrow, Eriksson, Neal and Ribeiro combined

for seven points in those games.

The Blues failed in their bid to open with three straight wins

after a 4-3 loss to unbeaten Nashville on Thursday. St. Louis fell

behind 3-1 after one period and failed to recover.

“One of our key things that we are working on this year is

winning the battles every night, and I don’t think we did that in

the first,” center T.J. Oshie said.

Oshie, who had three goals and two assists in the three

victories over Dallas last season, scored on the power play

Thursday while Matt D’Agostini added his third goal in two


The major offseason acquisition by new St. Louis general manager

Doug Armstrong – a former GM with Dallas from 2002-07 – was the

addition of Jaroslav Halak in a trade with Montreal. Halak has a

2.00 goals-against average through three games, and has never faced

the Stars.

Dallas’ Kari Lehtonen has a 2.58 GAA through three games, and

made 25 saves in a 4-1 win over Detroit on Thursday in the Stars’

home opener.

“What’s nice about it, it doesn’t even look like it’s that much

effort and when it looks as natural as he’s making it look, you

have to give him a great deal of credit for his preparation and for

his reading the play,” coach Marc Crawford said. “Most of the time

he was very controlled, he was in position, he was on the shot, and

that’s the sign of a guy that’s seeing the puck real well.”

Richards had a power-play goal and two assists as Dallas won

despite a season-low 15 shots on goal.