Blues begin tour of Pacific Division with stop in Dallas

4:18 PM, Mar 3, 2013   |    comments
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(Sports Network) - After rallying to even their home record on the season, the St. Louis Blues kick off a five-game road trip on Sunday afternoon with a stop in Dallas to battle the Stars.

The Blues took two of three on their recent homestand, including a 4-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday. St. Louis found itself down by two goals after the first period, but got tallies from Jaden Schwartz and Kevin Shattenkirk in the middle stanza before Vladimir Sobotka and David Backes scored in the third.

Schwartz, Sobotka and Backes added an assist each for the Blues, who are 5-2-1 in their past eight and improved to 5-5-1 at home on the season. Jaroslav Halak ended with 15 saves.

"I think we still felt after the first period, if we got the next goal, we could make a game of it," said St. Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock.

St. Louis' next eight games are against teams in Pacific Division and it will visit each team of that division once on its road trip. The Blues are 6-2-1 overall on the road this season.

The Blues won't have Alex Steen for the start of the trip after placing the forward on injured reserve Saturday. He suffered an upper body injury during practice on Tuesday, the same session in which Andy McDonald sustained a knee ailment that has already landed him on IR.

Steen led the Blues with 16 points off four goals and 12 assists prior to getting hurt.

St. Louis has won its last four versus the Stars, including two straight in Dallas. The Blues picked up a 4-3 win there on Jan. 26 in the first of three meetings this season, getting 20 saves from Halak.

The Stars have lost five of their past eight and suffered their third defeat in four home games with Thursday's 5-1 setback to the Edmonton Oilers. Jaromir Jagr prevented Dallas from getting shut out by scoring with 5:55 to play.

Kari Lehtonen returned after a five-game absence due to a groin injury and yielded all five goals on 33 shots. It could have been worse, but allowed the Oilers to score just once on nine power plays.

"It was an odd night. They got a couple bounces early and the penalties didn't allow us to get back in the game," said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.

One of those infractions came with 4:00 left when center Jamie Benn was assessed a cross-checking major and game misconduct for hitting Ryan Jones of the Oilers. Jones was on his way to the penalty box for making contact with Lehtonen and was down on the ice for a bit before heading to the bench.

Benn was fined $10,000, the maximum allowed under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, by the league on Saturday.


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