NHL

5
Final 1 2 3 Tot
St. Louis 2 2 1 5
Dallas 0 0 1 1
1
5:30 PM PT6:30 PM MT7:30 PM CT8:30 PM ET1:30 GMT9:30 6:30 PM MST8:30 PM EST5:30 UAE (+1)20:30 ET22:30 BRT, February 21, 2020
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas  Attendance: 18,532

Streaking Stars try to catch 1st-place Blues

St. Louis Blues at Dallas Stars

  1. The Stars enter Friday's matchup trailing the Blues by two points for first place in the Western Conference and are a conference-best 30-11-5 (.707) since November 1. St. Louis owns the West's second-best record during that time frame at 27-14-7 (.635).
  2. St. Louis won the first two meetings of this season's series with Dallas, but the Stars took the most recent with a 3-2 road victory on February 8. The Blues did earn a 3-1 win in Dallas on November 29 but have not won consecutive road games over the Stars in the regular season since taking three straight from October 2014-April 2015.
  3. The Stars are 5-0-1 in their last six games following Wednesday's 3-2 victory over Arizona. Dallas has allowed three goals or fewer in each of its last 24 wins, the second longest active streak in the NHL behind only the Coyotes' run of 52 straight that began in January 2019.
  4. After losing a season-high five straight games (0-2-3) from February 6-16, the Blues followed up Tuesday's 3-0 victory over New Jersey with Thursday's 1-0 win over Arizona. St. Louis is the most recent team to record three consecutive shutouts in a season, doing so from February 14-17, 2019.
  5. Denis Gurianov had a career-high two assists in Dallas' win over Arizona, only the seventh and eighth of his rookie season. He's one of only two players in 2019-20 with 15 or more goals and less than 10 assists, along with Florida's Noel Acciari (19 goals, six assists).
  6. Jordan Binnington was in net for both of the Blues' shutouts this week and earned his 50th career win in his 77th NHL game with Thursday's victory over Arizona. Among active goaltenders, only Frederik Andersen (73) and Matt Murray (76) have reached 50 career wins in fewer appearances.
Dallas Stars' Tyler Seguin, left, celebrates with John Klingberg after scoring against the Montreal Canadiens during overtime in an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, in Montreal. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP)

The Dallas Stars will try to continue their climb up the Central Division ladder when they host the St. Louis Blues Friday night.

The Stars are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games, but interim coach Rick Bowness is trying to keep his foot on the accelerator.

"You look at Friday night coming in here St. Louis, that's a battle probably for first or second place," he said Wednesday night after the team's 3-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday. "We don't want our guys to be satisfied. We haven't done anything yet. We haven't. We're fighting for first, second or third. OK, so we're still not in."

The Blues blanked the New Jersey Devils 3-0 and Coyotes 1-0 in their last two games to stay atop the division with 78 points. The Stars, who have played one fewer game, are in second with 76 points -- one point ahead of the third-place Colorado Avalanche.

"Do we watch what the opposition is doing? Certainly, but not to the point that we can get distracted," Bowness said. "If you get distracted by the other team, you take away from the details that you want your team to focus on."

Every game is critical down the stretch, but matchups against immediate rivals in the playoff chase carry extra weight.

"Obviously, you're fighting with your division and you want to climb to the top, but you also want to push yourself away from the bottom," Stars goaltender Ben Bishop said.

"It should be a fun atmosphere. It always is a good atmosphere down here when we play the Blues," he said. "It's a big game, and the next game after that is going to be important, too. That will be a fun one to play with the magnitude of it, but it's just two points at the end of the day."

The Blues allowed just 31 shots in their two victories this week to reestablish their team defensive game. Prior to that, they allowed four or more goals eight times during a span of 11 games.

"We're paying pretty good attention to the details of the game, not so much worrying about the outcome but investing in the game the right way, the way we talk, the way we track," Blues center Ryan O'Reilly said.

The Stars have lost two of their previous three games with the Blues this season. But they won their previous game between the teams 3-2 in St. Louis with Anton Khudobin stopping 23 of 25 shots and Roope Hintz scoring twice.

"They are one of the better teams in the league for sure," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "They are deep, they can play a lot of different ways, great goaltending, good defense. They're a solid team all-around. It's going to be a hard game."

Bishop, a St. Louis native and former Blues goaltender, has a career 6-8-1 record against his former team with a 2.19 goals-against average and a save percentage of .926.

Since Jordan Binnington started in goal Thursday night for the Blues, Jake Allen will likely start in Dallas. He is 9-5-0 with strong ratios (2.17, .921) in 15 career games against the Stars.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 21, 2020