The Blues are going streaking. They are undefeated since Ryan Miller and Steve Ott arrived, in what was one of the biggest trades of the NHL deadline. The Blues most recently bested the Minnesota Wild in the shootout. In a game that saw a Blues goal negated in the 3rd period by a premature whistle blow, and a phantom roughing call on one of the hottest players on the Blues, St. Louis was still able to pull out the win. This was one I felt we wouldn't have won before the Olympic break. The Blues seems energized by the trade and are playing some of their best hockey.
T.J. Oshie - Oshie has become a household name after his heroic shootout win against Russia in the Olympics. He even went on Extra and showed the world how he does his shootouts. You would think that give the upper hand to the goalies. Not last game, as Oshie scored almost effortlessly in the shootout. He looked at the top of his game last night, but history says he skates better against the Stars. He is +12 in his career when skating against Dallas. He is head and shoulders better against Dallas than any other team in the NHL. During his career, the next closest team sees him at +7. Oshie is averaging a point per game in his 15 meetings with the Stars. He has tallied 8 goals and 7 assists in those contests. That means, in the 402 shifts Oshie has taken against big D, they have only scored 3 times.
David Backes - One of the other Olympians makes the Hot list in David Backes. Captain Clutch is +11 in his 27 career games against the Stars. He has only scored 5 goals, but has a hefty 12 assists in those contests. All 5 of his goals have come even strength, showing Backes is able to stand toe to toe with Dallas' top line and score without the advantage. Backes' play has seen a steady incline recently as he and T.J. Oshie have been reunited on the 1st line.
Barret Jackman - Jax is making his home here on the Hot list. In his 34 career games against Dallas he has 1 goal and 5 assists. Those 6 points are just slightly better than half of his +/- total at +10. Jackman has been playing some of the most energized hockey I've seen from him in 2 seasons. Jax rarely contributes with offense, but has been a solid defenseman for years. In the past few contests he has elevated his play. He has contributed multiple goal saving plays in the span of a single shift multiple times since the Olympic break. Even when his fellow defensemen blunder, Jackman has been throwing his body and stick in the way to keep the Blues ahead. No defenseman has played with more heart, or is more deserving of the A than Jackman since the break.
Alexander Steen - Steen has been playing some of his best hockey this season, but historically it hasn't been against Dallas. In his 18 career games he is -9 overall. He has only tallied 3 goals and 5 assists against big D. What might be a more telling stat is his shooting percentage. He is shooting just 6.1% which ranks 3rd worst against all NHL teams he has faced. Coming off a strong game that saw him nearly win it with a backhand at the end of regulation, followed by the final goal in the shootout, Steen looks to turn his play against Dallas around.
Jay Bouwmeester - Bouwmeester might have a gold medal around his neck, but it only seems to weigh him down when he is skating against Dallas. In his career he is -5 when skating against the Stars. His minus stat isn't from not trying. In 25 games he has 3 goals and 8 assists. The sliver lining to his Not list appearance is that he shoots well against Dallas. His shooting percent is 9.7%, which is second best for him against any NHL team. 2 of his 3 goals have come on the power play, so expect Bouwmeester to take some one timers at the net when the Blues get a man advantage.
Magnus Paajarvi - Magnus was a scratch in last night's game. It wasn't for lack of production, as Paajarvi and his 4th line have produced recently. The move was to get Chris Porter some ice time in case he is needed in the playoff push to cover for an injured player. Paajarvi has only played 7 career games against the Stars, but he is -2 in those games. He has only 1 point, a lone assist. He has taken 130 shifts against Dallas and has only taken 13 shots. Simple math says that's 1 shot every 10 shifts, with 0 making it into the net. If Paajarvi is back on the ice tonight expect him to out play his past. He is a player on the rise, and seems to be rising quickly. While he isn't surrounded by weapons on the 4th line, usually paired with Lapierre and Reaves, Paajarvi has made the best of it. While Reaves smashes and Lapierre passes, Paajarvi scores.
Ryan Miller - It has only been Miller time 5 times for Dallas, and in those games Miller is 4-1-0. It is hard to draw many conclusions from such a small sample size, but Miller wins more often than he loses against Dallas. He has allowed 14 goals in those contests for a .889 save percentage and a 2.73 GAA. Miller has never had a shutout in his career against Dallas.
Brian Elliott - Oshie may have gotten the accolades for his impressive shootout goal against the Wild, but the real hero is Kid Ells. He truly kept the Blues in the game with some amazing saves. He had been forgotten since the arrival of Ryan Miller, but with a single outing Elliott reminded fans he is still not just on the roster, but still dominating. In his career against Dallas he is 3-2-0 with a .924 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA. It has already been announced that Miller will be starting between the pipes, but if he should falter, no one questions Elliott's ability off the bench after his stellar play in goal against the Wild.
All player images are via the St. Louis Blues official site