Dallas Stars Kick Off First Road Trip of the New Year in STL

It’s time to hit the road. The Dallas Stars will start up a three-game road swing tonight against a division rival.

The Dallas Stars are headed to St. Louis to take on the Blues tonight in hopes of earning their first victory of 2017. Puck drop is set for 7PM CT.

Records and Scores

Dallas (16-15-8) most recently fell to the Montreal Canadiens in a 4-3 overtime loss on Wednesday night. Their rough start to the game and issues with special teams required a third period come back, but they could not walk away with a second point after giving up the puck on a breakaway in overtime. The Stars will look to earn a victory against the Blues tonight.

St. Louis (20-14-5) fell to the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night in a 4-2 loss. Over their last seven games they have been on a lose one, win one streak and are hoping to find their way back into the win column tonight as they host the Stars.

Storylines

Line-up Changes

The Stars recently sent Patrik Nemeth down to their AHL affiliate Texas Stars for a conditioning stint and captain Jamie Benn is on injured reserve for a foot injury. While those two will not be making an appearance in tonight’s match-up, the door is open for young players to step up.

Dallas has made a habit of changing the line-up constantly this season and while it has worked in some ways, it has tragically failed them in others. The Stars are looking for consistency as a team, but find it difficult to do so with different players on the roster almost each and every night.

Unfortunately, it is a practice they are continuing into the new year. Tonight’s game will be a test to see how well the Stars can play without Benn in the line-up, as well as a gauge of their defensive strength.

Finding an Identity

The biggest issue the Stars are currently facing is their lack of certainty in where they fall in the league. They know they are not a defense-first club, like the Blues, but they also have not been an offensive power house this season.

That leaves them in the murky space between the two and although it may not seem like a big deal, it has its repercussions on the ice.

Dallas needs to be able to label themselves as something and with previously injured players having made their way back into the line-up, now is the time to do it. Identity is an important aspect to this club and it is one that has been missing all season long.

Perhaps the answer is to create a new framework for how they label themselves. Maybe the Stars are supposed to just be a skilled, hard-working team instead of either offensive or defensive in nature. Whatever it is they can figure out, though, will be a step in the right direction for this club. The search for an identity would be off to a much better start if they can come out with two points in tonight’s game.

Injuries

Dallas will be without Ales Hemsky (hip) and Mattias Janmark (knee) for the majority of the season. Jamie Benn (foot) was placed on IR retroactive to December 31 and is not eligible to play tonight.

St. Louis will not have Carl Gunnarsson (lower-body) in the line-up tonight.

Line Predictions

Dallas Stars

Patrick Sharp – Jason Spezza – Tyler Seguin

Curtis McKenzie – Radek Faksa – Brett Ritchie

Jiri Hudler – Cody Eakin – Patrick Eaves

Antoine Roussel – Devin Shore – Adam Cracknell

Esa Lindell – John Klingberg

Dan Hamhuis – Stephen Johns

Johnny Oduya – Jordie Benn

Antti Niemi

Kari Lehtonen

St. Louis Blues

Alex SteenPaul StastnyDavid Perron

Jaden SchwartzJori LehteraVladimir Tarasenko

Robby FabbriPatrik BerglundDmitrij Jaskin

Scottie UpshallKyle BrodziakRyan Reaves

Joel EdmundsonAlex Pietrangelo

Brad HuntKevin Shattenkirk

Jay BouwmeesterColton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Prediction

The Stars will find their first win of the new year as they top the Blues 4-1.

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