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Most Messed Up: Blues At Dallas Stars Preview

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Two injury-plagued teams battle for the Central Division's top spot tonight

Vladdi needs 2 more for an even 100.
Vladdi needs 2 more for an even 100.
Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

There's something to be said for living in the moment. While the "nothing matters until the playoffs" mantra has been drummed into our heads all season long, you can't help but celebrate how well the team is doing. Nobody knows what the future holds for us, but you can't let that overshadow the here and now. And right now, the Blues find themselves in Dallas, TX in a game with first place in the Central on the line. Given what the Blues have had to deal with all year, that's pretty remarkable. We've come too far to care about the "what ifs" the future holds.

The Blues aren't the only ones dealing with injuries, though. The Blues and the Stars have a lot of similarities going into tonight's match. The St Louis IR list is well-documented, and the Stars are currently missing defensemen Jason Demers, John Klingberg, Jordie Benn, and forward Patrick Sharp. Even as the preseason predictions set the Stars as contenders, most acknowledged that their Achilles heel was their blueline. The netminding was also a big question mark. Losing that many players (especially Klingberg) on D has really put more pressure on the goalies and the offense.

The Stars seem to be rebounding. You may recall our last meeting: a 2-1 OT win for the Blues on February 16th. After that, the Stars finished the month 1-4-1, including some real lopsided losses (6-3 to ARI, 7-3 to BOS, 6-3 to WPG). They opened March with a 5-3 loss to Nashville, but then they caught their footing and have gone 3-0-1 since. This includes last night's thumping of Chicago 5-2. The Dallas top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza blew the wheels off of Chicago, with EACH member recording a goal and an assist. Additionally, the Stars killed all 5 of Chicago's power plays, while converting on 2 of their 6 chances. The Blues cannot afford any wasted opportunities on special teams tonight.

While the Stars have looked much more human lately, they still have that offensive punch. That top line is absolutely lethal. Give it time, and they can take over any game. The Blues have won 3 out of 4 in the season series so far, with this being the last meeting for the regular season. Since it was Kari Lehtonen in goal last night, it will be Antti Niemi in the net for the Stars tonight. He has a 22-12-6 record and a .903 save percentage.

Note: Vladimir Tarasenko is 2 shy of 100 career goals.

Further Reading:

Defending Big D

Dallas Morning News

Blues vs Stars coverage

GameDay Twitter Feed:

Final Verse: The puck drops at 8 PM St Louis time, and the GDT should drop shortly beforehand. You get an extra hour to pregame, so use it wisely. Or don't ... who am I to judge? The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW, and the radio call will be on KMOX 1120 AM. Come join us for the game, eh? A late start and both teams played last night, so I'm hoping for no curtain calls: end this in regulation PLEASE.

Former NHLer and Dallas broadcaster Daryl Reaugh is quite the character, and it's reflected in his game recaps:

LGB!