The Dallas Stars lead the league in an interesting statistical category. Their four shootout and overtime losses are the most in the league. Only one team has three, the Islanders. Three of the Stars' first four games went to the shootout. They lost all three. Their last game on Thursday was a 5-4 defeat in overtime to the L.A. Kings. They have an overall record of 4-2-4, good for 12 points and a three-way tie for first place in the Pacific Division.
Don't expect to see Mike Modano tonight. The ancient center for the Stars has a rib injury. The 39-year-old has played in only one game this season and has no goals or assists, two penalty minutes and one shot on goal. I'm not going to say he should have hung his skates up before the season, but he played in 80 games last year and racked up a puny total of 46 points. Remember when he was good? Yeah, Brett Hull was still good too. And not fat and retired.
Brad Richards is probably the best Stars player right now. The former Stanley Cup winner with the Tampa Bay Lightnings (yeah, that wasn't a dream, they actually won a Cup) has 11 points in eight games on the season. At 29 he's still showing potential to be a No. 1 center but doesn't always live up to expectations. Injury held him to only 56 games played last year with 48 points. Back in 2005-06 he notched 91 points in 80 games. Getting traded and being dinged up have put the last few seasons in turmoil. Now he's locked in and a clear cut leader for the Stars. Now is his time to step up. Watch out for him.
Brendan Morrow leads the team with five goals. That dude is in his 10th season in the league. And it feels like the dude should be a lot older than 30. And it's not like he's a prolific scorer. He's hit 30 goals one season but threatened several times. He has 179 career goals in 601 career games. That's not going to get him to the Hockey Hall of Fame, but he's still dangerous and has enjoyed playing against the Blues over the years.
There's some pressure on Loui Ericksson to perform this year. The 24-year-old scored 36 goals last year in his third season in the league. He has four goals and five assists on the young season. He's also a plus-3 making him one of 12 players on the stars with positive plus/minus ratings. Now it's a flawed statistic, but screams out that the Stars play well five-on-five and the numbers bear it out with the Stars amongst the league leaders in scoring at even strength.
Marty Turco has a 2.31 goals-against average and has stopped 91.1 percent of the shots he's faced. He's not being pushed by Alex Auld for playing time, so I would think Turco gets the start. Expect Ty Conklin to get the start for the Blues. All three have gone to the power of the beard. We'll talk about that on the Game Time web site this week.
Alright, we're set. You know about the adversity that is gathering for the Blues. Yes I'm going to worry every time a Blues player hits the glass awkwardly or crashes into the goalie. Hopefully they've sprayed for the injury bug in the Blues' dressing room. Worse than the Swine Flu, I tell you. Think positive. Or something.
This is your game day thread. Feel free to get drunk and be somebody. On the Internet. Do it for Oshie.