The St. Louis Blues will try to extend their 11-game home points streak when they host the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
The Blues routed the Washington Capitals 5-1 Friday to improve to 10-0-1 in their last 11 games at Enterprise Center.
“It was a discussion before the season started out,” Blues defenseman Torey Krug said. “That was one of our goals. Playing in a full building, this is a very tough place for opposing teams. I was on the other side for a number of years. We talked about it as an opposing team. I think we’ve re-established that and our fans being back in the building is a very big part of that.”
The Stars come to town after rallying past Pittsburgh 3-2 in Dallas on Saturday, erasing a 2-0 first-period deficit while snapping the Penguins’ 10-game winning streak.
“In the first, we were just giving them a little bit too much respect,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “Then I think in the second and the third, we started to play Dallas Stars hockey.”
The Stars have won four straight games after losing their previous five.
“We know how we have to play when we are at our best,” Stars forward Roope Hintz said. “I think we’re trying to bring that every game. We just have to play like we did today, in the second and third period, keep it simple, get pucks to the net.”
With Blues winger Vladimir Tarasenko in COVID-19 protocol after scoring 34 points in 34 games, coach Craig Berube shuffled his forward lines again.
He flanked top center Ryan O’Reilly with wingers Pavel Buchnevich and Ivan Barbashev. They combined for three goals and three assists against the Capitals, with Buchnevich and Barbashev clicking as they did on other lines.
“I think together they’ve got some real nice chemistry,” Berube said. “They’re buddies from back in their days in junior; I think they played together. They just feed off each other pretty well. It doesn’t matter who’s playing with them, they seem to produce for us, which is important.”
Buchnevich has 13 goals and 20 assists with a plus-17 rating in 32 games. Barbashev has 13 goals and 15 assists and a plus-8 rating in 34 games.
“Those are two key guys,” Krug said. “When they’re at the top of their game, it doesn’t matter who they play with, where they are in the lineup, they’re making plays. And they’re working hard, too. The best part about them is when they make a mistake, they’re the hardest ones backchecking.”
Since Jake Oettinger played Saturday, the Stars are likely to come back with Braden Holtby (6-7-1, 2.59 GAA) in goal for this game.
The Blues are 2-1 against the Stars this season. They earned 4-1 victories in consecutive games on Dec. 14 and 17 with fill-in Charlie Lindgren tending goal.
They will choose between Jordan Binnington (10-7-3, 3.00), who is back from COVID-19 protocol, and Ville Husso (4-2-1, 2.28), who recently came off the injury list. Husso earned the victory over the Capitals on Friday.
–Field Level Media