It must be the cool new thing to beat up on the Nashville Predators. The Dallas Stars absolutely shellacked them last night to the tune of 7-3. That whole "fighting for a playoff spot" thing must make for excellent motivation.
Let's hope that "fighting for the best record in hockey" serves for a bigger one.
The Stars absolutely must win every game that they can to stay alive as the season winds down. They're fighting with the Phoenix Coyotes for the last wildcard spot in the West; with last night's win they're three points behind the Yotes. Dallas hasn't made the postseason since 2008; they've come close a couple of times, but close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.
If the Stars do make the cut, they'll be a very, very difficult first round matchup. Last night showcased scoring from all lines, all areas of the ice.
The Blues have some firepower of their own, and it was on display Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild. T.J. Oshie, who has had just an absolute hell of a season, scored his first career hat trick, David Backes tallied two assists, and Alexander Steen had one of his own. Moral of the story: keep this line together. The Blues' top line is lethal, and Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen may have some issues here. Tim Thomas was in net for the Stars' 3-2 win a few weeks ago; Lehtonen was in net for (most of) the 6-1 loss back in November.
The Blues have had no issue scoring against non-playoff position teams recently, and with their pounding of the Wild, they've shown that they can take care of the wild card teams too. Tonight's game against the Stars is a great chance for the Blues to build on some momentum and take one more step closer to clinching the Western Conference (thanks, Edmonton, BTW).
Ken Hitchcock will be sticking with the geezer line of Steve Ott, Derek Roy, and Brenden Morrow. Says Hitch:
"They’re three veteran guys who know how to read off each other. I want to see it play consistently well before we evaluate whether we’ll stay with it or not. I’m not 100 percent sure yet. They’re showing flashes of playing well together, but for whatever reason, whether it’s injuries or we needed help somewhere else, they’ve gotten broken up."
So, if you want the Baby Jane Line (see yesterday's links comments) to stay together, the rest of the team needs to be healthy. Sounds doable. That gives the Blues two lines that can wear opponents down, and two lines that can score and wear people out. Balanced, but if the Blues want to start netting goals against playoff teams, they need four lines who are dangerous - the Baby Jane Line is potentially one of those. I mean, we've all seen the movie. Bette Davis was fierce. Nobody puts Steve Ott in the corner.
By the way, if someone with Photoshop skills is inspired by that last sentence, go for it.