NHL Hockey: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues - Stars Favored
The Stars look to start scoring and avoid losing four straight games for the first time in nearly three years when they visit the St. Louis Blues on Thursday.
Dallas (38-22-5) fell 4-0 to San Jose on Sunday, and the Sharks moved one point ahead of the Stars in the West. Sixth-place Dallas is tied with Calgary with 81 points, just two ahead of eighth-place Minnesota.
Dallas is one of the worst offensive teams in the NHL with just 170 goals, and with playoff seeding on the line, that has been costly.
The Stars have just three goals during their skid and have scored two goals or fewer in six of their last seven games, losing four of them.
Jere Lehtinen leads the team with 22 goals, but hasn't scored in his last three games. Philippe Boucher is second with 17 goals, but has only one in his last nine contests.
Dallas allowed San Jose to score just 2:38 into the first period, a goal that turned out to be the game-winner because of the Stars' non-existent offense.
"That first goal can kind of take the wind out of your sails,'' coach Dave Tippett said. "But what hurts more is not counteracting that goal. We didn't finish and we didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had.''
The Stars have two other three-game losing streaks this season, but haven't dropped four in a row since March 27-April 2, 2004.
Goaltender Marty Turco has been keeping Dallas in games lately, but it hasn't been enough to overcome the lack of offense. Turco made 14 saves Sunday and has a 1.76 goals-against average in his last six starts, but is only 3-1-2 over that span.
Turco has allowed just three goals in two games against the Blues (28-28-10) this season, but the Stars were shut out in the last meeting Feb. 3. St. Louis' Manny Legace, currently out following right knee surgery, made 22 saves to outplay Turco in a 2-0 victory.
Despite that loss, Turco has been outstanding against the Blues lately, going 6-1-1 with a 1.61 GAA and two shutouts in his last eight starts.
St. Louis lost to Calgary 4-2 on Tuesday and is 2-1-1 since dealing top scorers Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin at the trade deadline.
Petr Cajanek and Radek Dvorak scored on two of the Blues' first four shots against the Flames, but St. Louis allowed four goals in the final 21 minutes of the game.
"You take a look at their lineup and they've got guys with Stanley Cup rings,'' goalie Curtis Sanford said. "We know there's no giving up in that room and we certainly didn't respond.''
Sanford made 28 saves against the Flames, and has started all five games for the Blues since Legace's injury, going 2-2-1 with a 2.76 GAA. He made 27 saves in a 4-1 loss to Dallas on Nov. 1, and is 2-1-1 with a 3.16 GAA in his career against the Stars.
Tuesday's loss to Calgary snapped a season-high four-game home winning streak for St. Louis, which has not lost consecutive games at Scottrade Center since Jan. 27 and 30.
by: Gary Roberts - theSpread.com - Email Us
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