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Stars coach Rick Bowness hopes elusive offense shows up against Blues

Sportsnaut
Dec 11, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness talks on the bench during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2021; San Jose, California, USA; Dallas Stars head coach Rick Bowness talks on the bench during the third period against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center at San Jose. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

The reeling Dallas Stars will try to jump-start their sputtering offense when they visit the St. Louis Blues on Friday.

The Stars fell to the Blues 4-1 at home Tuesday for their fourth consecutive loss. They have scored just two goals in their past three games.

They played without key forwards Roope Hintz and Alexander Radulov on Tuesday, and their only goal came from a rookie making his debut. Both were out with an illness.

“When you get one goal, and it’s from (Riley) Damiani’s first NHL game, that’s incredibly disappointing in a big game like this,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “We had some guys who, I’ll have to check the video to see if they even played. I couldn’t find them on the ice.

“Unless you want to show up and get your nose dirty and get involved in a game like that, then you’re a complete non-factor and we had a few of those guys that were complete no-shows. We have no chance if we have guys that don’t want to show up and play in those games.”

The Stars got both Hintz and Radulov back on the ice for Thursday’s practice. They will continue their stretch of 10 consecutive games against Central Division rivals with this rematch against the Blues at Enterprise Center.

The Blues have persevered through extensive injury and COVID-19 issues. They put Robert Thomas and Brayden Schenn on injured reserve Monday and moved David Perron to long-term injured reserve.

Also sidelined are forwards Jordan Kyrou, Klim Kostin and James Neal along with defenseman Jake Walman and goaltender Ville Husso. Defenseman Scott Perunovich missed Tuesday’s game with a non-COVID-19 illness, but he was back for Thursday’s practice.

Defenseman Justin Faulk and Tyler Bozak returned from COVID-19 protocols Tuesday — and Faulk scored in his first game back. Goaltender Jordan Binnington returned from protocols Wednesday, prompting the trade of fill-in netminder Jon Gillies to New Jersey.

The Blues have earned points in nine of their past 10 games while going 6-1-3 despite their casualties. Coach Craig Berube credited the influx of AHL players for helping the team embrace a more defensive-minded style.

“A lot of times, when you simplify it and dumb it down and play a hard, straightforward game, you have success,” Berube said. “Really, it’s not a complicated game, hockey. It’s a simple game, and when you play a simple game of hockey, you give yourself a chance to win in my opinion.

“Limit things. Limit turnovers. Play direct. Make it hard on the other team, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re getting real good goaltending, and we’re getting real good team play.”

Binnington returned to practice, but the Blues could ride AHL call-up Charlie Lindgren a bit longer. Lindgren (4-0-0, 1.29 goals-against average) became the second goaltender in Blues history to win his first four starts with the team.

“It’s really fun right now,” Lindgren said. “The team’s playing well, and we’ve got a great group of guys. Winning always makes everything a blast, so it’s a lot of fun.”

–Field Level Media