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Stars at Blues preview: Back on track

Was the Brayden Schenn hat-trick Tuesday night a sign of the team getting their groove back?

NHL: Dallas Stars at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

I cannot attest to how the Blues played Tuesday evening. NHL.tv was dead on all platforms, so instead I read a book.

I did read the box score of the game, though, and it looks like Brayden Schenn had a hell of a night. His three goals against the Canadiens gives him 13 on the season. Factor in his 20 assists, and his 33 points places Schenn fifth overall on the NHL scoring list. His line, on which he centers Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko, have continued to be a force to deal with. Combined, they have 96 points on the season and 35 goals.

The last time that the Blues and the Stars met up, it resulted in a 4-2 victory for the home team on October 7th. The season seems to’ve flown by since then, and it’s because of the pacing. Even in a year without an Olympic break, the games seem crammed in. Tonight marks the beginning of ten games in 17 days for the Blues. No rest for the wicked, but plenty of time to get things back on track after a brief lull.

So far this season the Blues are 4-1-1 against the Central Division. It’s surprising that they’ve only played six divisional games so far this season, which may be contributing to how tight the Central has been and how a small stretch of poor play has led to the team being in third place instead of first. There’s very little margin of error for the best division in the NHL.

The Dallas Stars have worked their way up into the first wild card spot, but that could easily change after tonight. Ben Bishop’s supplanted Kari Lehtonen as starter, and it’s been his strong play this season that’s helped push the Stars to a much successful start to the year than last year. Unfortunately for the Stars (and fortunately for the Blues), Bishop is suffering back soreness and won’t be in the net tonight. His poor play Tuesday night against the Predators was a sign of a bigger issue. Lehtonen won his last start Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche, but for this season he is 3-3-1 with a 2.80 GAA and a .900 save percentage. Much better than usual, but with a much smaller sample size.