Blues at Stars
7 p.m. Friday, American Airlines Center, Dallas
Radio: KTCK/1310 AM and 96.7 FM
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Series: Opener of best-of-seven series
Season series: Stars were 1-1-3 against Blues
About the Blues: St. Louis was stretched to a seventh game before dethroning the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday in a series that had six games decided by a single goal. The series win ended a string of disheartening postseason exits, which included first-round losses the previous two seasons. Despite finishing second to Dallas in the Western Conference, by just two points, St. Louis won four of the five regular-season meetings, including two in overtime and one in a shootout. The Blues notched a second-round sweep of the Stars in 2001 in their last playoff meeting. Former Stars left wing Steve Ott played in only 21 games for St. Louis this season after a hamstring injury and a bout with colitis but looks forward to seeing some former teammates. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock led the Stars to their only Stanley Cup championship in the 1998-99 season and back to the finals the next season. Goalie Brian Elliott stopped 236 of 254 shots against the Blackhawks, and had at least 30 saves in six of the seven games with a high of 44 in Game 3.
About the Stars: They enjoyed some needed rest after finishing off the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. Goalie Kari Lehtonen came into postseason with a career playoff record of 2-6 with a 3.88 goals-against average but was 3-1 with a 2.27 GAA in first-round win against the Wild. Lehtonen was 1-0-1 against St. Louis this season with a 0.99 goals-against average. Captain Jamie Benn had points in each of the first-round games, registering four goals and six assists. His 10 points are tops in the playoffs so far. Center Tyler Seguin played only in Game 2 of the Wild series and his status remains unclear. General manager Jim Nill told the Dallas Morning News, “He can’t skate yet. He’s day-to-day, and once he gets on the ice, it’s probably four to five days from there.” Jason Spezza picked up the scoring slack with nine points (four goals, five assists) against Minnesota.