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
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’
“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.