T.J. Oshie and Ryan Miller are big reasons why the St. Louis Blues will head into the playoffs as a favorite to win the Stanley Cup.
Re-establishing their home success over the Dallas Stars could get them closer to the Presidents’ Trophy.
Oshie looks to build on his first career hat trick as the Blues attempt to tie the franchise record for wins in a season Saturday night against the surging Stars.
Oshie has career highs of 21 goals and 60 points for St. Louis (50-16-7), but he earned national notoriety after scoring four shootout goals for the United States in a 3-2 win over Russia in the Olympics last month. Since returning from Sochi, the center has seven goals and as many assists in 15 games, getting six of those points over the past two.
Oshie put on another dazzling display Thursday, netting a hat trick in a 5-1 win over Minnesota.
"This has been an exciting couple of months for me," said Oshie, who witnessed the birth of his daughter earlier this month, "but she trumps everything for me."
While Oshie is emerging as an offensive star for the Blues, Miller continues to be a force in net, going 9-2-1 with a 2.03 goals-against average since being acquired from Buffalo. He’ll likely be between the pipes again after making 27 saves against the Wild, improving to 4-0-1 with a 1.78 GAA at Scottrade Center.
Another strong performance from Miller and Oshie could assure St. Louis of tying its record of 51 wins set in 1999-2000.
It would also help the Blues in the race for home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. They enter Saturday a NHL-best 107 points, one more than Eastern Conference-leading Boston, which visits Washington earlier in the day.
"We wanted to make a statement to the league that we deserve to be where we’re at," Oshie said. "We want that target on our backs."
The Blues are 7-1-1 in their last nine meetings with Dallas, going 4-0-1 at home. That defeat, however, came in the most recent matchup there March 11, when Miller gave up a goal to Jamie Benn with 1:18 left in overtime of a 3-2 loss.
The Stars (35-27-11) have since lost four straight on the road. However, they’re returning to St. Louis as winners of three of four overall after matching their season-high scoring output by overpowering Nashville 7-3 Friday.
While the Blues have already clinched a postseason berth, Dallas is three points back of Phoenix for the West’s second wild-card spot.
"You can’t afford to take a night off and lose points anywhere," center Vernon Fiddler told the team’s official website. "You’ve got to keep pace with everybody. It seems like this time of year everybody finds ways to win. We just have to worry about our destiny and keep pushing, get as many points as we can and put some pressure on other teams."
Fiddler was one of seven Stars to score a goal against the Predators, while defenseman Alex Goligoski matched his season high with three assists.
Tyler Seguin, who had an assist Friday, has seven goals and 11 assists during an 11-game points streak. That includes an assist on Benn’s winner at St. Louis earlier this month.
Benn has two goals and two assists in three games against the Blues this season, and six points in his last six visits to St. Louis.