Stars, shorthanded Blues open home-and-home set

NHL Hockey

The Dallas Stars will try to snap a three-game losing streak when they host the St. Louis Blues Tuesday in the front half of a home-and-home series.

The two Central Division rivals will square off again Friday in St. Louis. The Stars won their previous game against the Blues 4-1 on Nov. 20.

That victory propelled the Stars to a seven-game winning streak. Then they hit the road and suffered losses to Vegas, Los Angeles and San Jose on their western swing.

But Stars coach Rick Bowness saw things to build on with his team’s 2-1 loss to the Sharks Saturday.

“That’s probably the best road game we’ve played all year,” Bowness said. “We limited them and we just didn’t score. But we did a lot of good things tonight. This week has been four (games) in six (days). That’s the most energy we’ve had. So clearly the cold bug is behind us. I’ll take that game all year, and that was just a solid game.”

The Stars controlled long stretches of the game, but failed to capitalize.

“We threw a lot more pucks at the net,” Bowness said. “We scored because we went there and got a nice tip. We spent more time in the (offensive) zone. We got our (defense) a lot more involved. There were 77 shot attempts tonight, so we were throwing everything we could at the net.”

The Stars try to recharge their power play back on American Airlines Center ice after going 0-for-6 with the man advantage in their last two road games.

Top goal-scorer Roope Hintz missed the Sharks game with a non-COVID illness and he didn’t skate in Monday’s practice.

The Blues have earned points in eight of their last nine games, going 5-1-3, despite deploying a makeshift lineup. They were missing 10 players due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols in their 3-2 overtime loss to Anaheim Sunday — and they lost forward Brayden Schenn to an upper-body injury during that game.

The Blues were already missing key forwards Jordan Kyrou, David Perron, Robert Thomas and Tyler Bozak along with defensemen Justin Faulk and Jake Walman due to COVID-19 and injuries.

Top goaltender Jordan Binnington (COVID-19) and back-up Ville Husso (upper-body injury) also remained sidelined. The Blues can’t recall No. 3 netminder Joel Hofer from AHL affiliate Springfield due to salary cap constraints, so they have turned to No. 4 goaltender Charlie Lindgren and free agent Jon Gillies to hold the fort.

Gillies played Sunday in the second half of back-to-back games, so Lindgren (3-0-0, 1.42 goals against average) will likely get the call against the Stars.

The Blues had to dress just 17 skaters again Sunday due to their unavailable players and cap issues. After Sunday’s game, coach Craig Berube wasn’t optimistic about getting any of his key players back for Tuesday’s game.

“Yeah, it’s crazy,” Blues captain Ryan O’Reilly said. “It’s like every time you turn around there’s another guy gone. It’s unfortunate. It is what it is. We’ve got to keep punching forward. New guys have been called up that have played outstanding for us, have contributed so much for us, getting points. It’s very nice to see that. It’s going to happen. It’s better early than later. See a couple guys going down but a few guys are coming back soon so it’s a positive.”

–Field Level Media

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