The St. Louis Blues are riding high into their 2017-18 home opener versus the Dallas Stars on Saturday in what will be the first of many crucial Central Division battles this season. St. Louis spoiled two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh’s banner raising party with a 5-4 victory Wednesday as defenseman Alex Pietrangelo scored in overtime to record his second career two-goal game.
Pietrangelo led St. Louis defensemen with a career-high 14 goals last season while the rest of the 2017-18 blueline corps combined for 10 in 2016-17. “You’re playing the defending champs on their opening night. There’s going to be no quit in their game, but finding a way to get two points and getting that first win under our belt, I think is huge,” Blues center Paul Stastny, who recorded a goal and assist, told reporters. Dallas was on the wrong end of a trivia question when it opened the season with a 2-1 loss to Vegas on Friday in the first game in Golden Knights’ franchise history. Injury was added to insult when new Stars No. 1 goaltender Ben Bishop left the contest after he was cut on the head while taking a shot off his facemask, but was able to return to the bench.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, FSN Southwest (Dallas), FSN Midwest (St. Louis)
ABOUT THE STARS (0-1-0): Bishop stopped all 19 shots he faced before Kari Lehtonen, who started 392 games since arriving in Dallas in 2009-10, took over with 16:02 remaining and gave up a pair of goals to James Neal - the second with 2:44 to play. Tyler Seguin, who shared the team lead in goals (26) with Jamie Benn and boasted a club-best 72 points last season, scored Friday and recorded a whopping 10 shots on goal. Alexander Radulov took two minor penalties and recorded three hits, including a big one Las Vegas’ Cody Eakin in the neutral zone, in his Dallas debut.
ABOUT THE BLUES (1-0-0): St. Louis received additional offensive support from the blueline Wednesday as Colton Parayko scored while center Brayden Schenn registered an even-strength goal and assist in his Blues debut after he was acquired from Philadelphia during the offseason. Schenn’s 17 power-play goals tied for the NHL lead with Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov in 2016-17. “I’ve gotta try and find ways to create more chances and produce a little bit more 5-on-5,” Schenn told reporters. “So that’s something I’m going to put a focus on. ...”
1. St. Louis D Vince Dunn and C Tage Thompson made their NHL debuts Wednesday with Dunn finishing a plus-1 in 15:28 of ice time while Thompson was a minus-1 in 11:26.
2. Dallas, which had the worst-penalty killing unit in the NHL in 2016-17, extinguished all seven Golden Knights’ power plays Friday.
3. St. Louis won the final three meetings last season - twice in overtime and all by one goal.
PREDICTION: Blues 3, Stars 2