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Stars At Blues Preview: Stars Still Can’t Find Defensive Prowess

It looks like the same defensive lapses that the Blues suffered earlier this month are sticking with the Dallas Stars.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Oh, Dallas. A team with such explosive offense should not have a -15 goal differential and two goaltenders with ballooned GAAs, and yet here we are. Well, here they are, because the Blues have snapped the funk and have cut their goal differential down to -2. Jaden Schwartz and David Perron have gone a long way to helping the team out of their doldrums. Perron is on a seven game point streak, with two goals and eight assists during that stretch, including a couple outstanding goal set-ups on Saturday evening. With his fifteen points, he sits second on the team in scoring.

Schwartz again is proving that as he goes, so do the Blues. Schwartz is second on the team behind Vladimir Tarasenko with eight goals and is fourth on the team in scoring with thirteen points despite playing four fewer games due to injury.

The last time that these two teams met up, the Blues got their rears handed to them, 6-2. That was in Dallas, and featured a Blues team that was still struggling to find their identity. Now that they’ve gelled, and since they have a four game winning streak at home bolstering their excellent home record, a score that lopsided seems far fetched. The Stars, however, have been pummelled by the Winnipeg Jets (8-2 on November 8th) Edmonton Oilers (5-2 on November 19th), and Nashville Predators (5-2 on November 23rd). Despite that, they’ve won five of their last ten. A common denominator through the losses looks to be catching Kari Lehtonen on a bad night. Antti Niemi is probably going to start off tonight, but honestly, catching him on an off-night is a key to success too. It’s not as common as catching Kari not playing well so far this season, but neither Stars goaltender is living up to whatever potential they have left.

Here’s tonight’s projected lineup:

Forwards

Jaden Schwartz - Paul Stastny - David Perron

Robby Fabbri - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Dmitrij Jaskin - Patrik Berglund - Ty Rattie

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Defense

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Carl Gunnarsson - Kevin Shattenkirk

Robert Bortuzzo - Colton Parayko

Goalie

Jake Allen