Preview: Hopefully the Stars won't be singing the Blues
Now with the Jamie Benn saga over with, the Dallas Stars can put complete focus on to their next opponent the St. Louis Blues. Unfortunately for the Stars, the newly resigned Benn will not be available to play in this game Saturday night in Dallas, Jamie is expected to join the Stars on the road in Columbus Monday night January 28th. Much like the Stars' last opponent the Chicago Blackhawks, this Blues team is very talented and has great depth.
The St Louis Blues have pretty much kept their roster the same as last year, with one big exception, Valdimir Tarasenko, get use to hearing his name in the NHL this season. Drafted in the 2010 NHL entry draft first round (16th overall) this young Russian is leading the Blues in points, goals, and already has a game winning goal this season. Tarasenko is currently playing on a line with McDonald and Steen, which if Dallas is not careful, they could fall behind quickly in this game. Another explosive part of this Blues team is their strong defense lead by Barret Jackman and their stellar netminders in Elliot and Halak.
After looking over the early season team stats of both the Blues and the Stars, one stat that stood out the most, the power play percentage. While the Blues are 53.8% on the man advantage, the Stars are 16.7%, this has to change for Dallas if they want to be successful in this shortened season. One more stat that caught my eye were the shots against per game, St. Louis is currently at 19.5, while Dallas sits at 38.25. Nevertheless the Stars have some major defensive issues to clear up to be in the playoff race this year.
So now it's that time again, I'll leave you with what I think are the keys for a Dallas Stars victory against the Blues. First defense, defense, and more defense the Stars have to be stronger defensively, with the possible start of Aaron Rome making his debut at defense for Dallas, maybe that will help. Secondly, special teams is something that has to improve, especially on the power play and also on the penalty kill for the Stars. Lastly, with Jagr a 40-60 or 60-40 to play depending on how you look at it, the Stars will need to lean on others to contribute, which Ray Whitney is tied with Jagr in points (4) and with Eriksson and Ryder scoring, it's time for Derek Roy to join the party. I do understand this is only the fifth game of the year for the Stars, but then again this season is working on limited games. I think once Jamie Benn gets back into the line up, Dallas can finally gel and start to make a push towards the playoffs this year.