3 Keys: Stars vs. Blues, round-robin Cup Qualifiers


Stars vs. Blues

3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN360, SN1

Dallas 0-2-0, St. Louis 0-2-0

The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues will battle for the No. 3 seed in the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference when they play their final game of the round-robin portion of the Stanley Cup Qualifiers at Rogers Place in Edmonton on Saturday.

The winner will play the No. 6 seed Calgary Flames in the Western Conference First Round in Edmonton, the Western hub city. The loser will play the No. 5 seed Vancouver Canucks.

Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko is expected to play after being held out for precautionary reasons against the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday.

Defenseman John Klingberg is expected to play for Dallas after he was unfit to play against the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. Stars goalie Ben Bishop returned to practice Saturday after missing their session Friday and could play against the Blues. 

Here are 3 keys to the round-robin game:


1. Bring intensity

Coach Craig Berube was not happy with the Blues’ lack of intensity in their first two round-robin games, a 2-1 loss to the Avalanche on Aug. 2 and a 6-4 loss to the Golden Knights on Thursday.

“I’m not sure that our guys have really brought the intensity to the first two games,” Berube said. “The intensity level has to come way up, competing has to come way up. If you want to keep chasing the game, we’ll keep playing that way. If we want to compete harder, we’ll do a lot more with the puck.”


2. Play a full 60 minutes

The Stars liked the first two periods of their 5-3 loss to the Golden Knights on Monday, but they lacked structure and a strong forecheck in the third period of that game as well as throughout their 4-0 loss to the Avalanche on Thursday. 

“We need to play Dallas Stars hockey,” coach Rick Bowness said. “We saw it for 40 minutes against Vegas. We need to see it for 60 minutes. If we do that, we’ll feel good about ourselves, regardless of the outcome.”


3. Get on the same page

The Blues had a players-only meeting on Friday to discuss their frustrations through the first two round-robin games.

“I mean, it’s always good to get the whole group together, have a talk, get everyone on the same page,” forward Zach Sanford said. Especially with veterans and leaders, they always have good input. It’s good for us younger guys to hear what they’re saying. Hopefully we’re on the same page going into tomorrow.”


Stars projected lineup

Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlexander Radulov

Mattias JanmarkJoe PavelskiDenis Gurianov

Roope HintzJason DickinsonCorey Perry

Andrew CoglianoRadek FaksaBlake Comeau

Esa Lindell — John Klingberg

Jamie OleksiakMiro Heiskanen

Andrej SekeraStephen Johns

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Gavin Bayreuther, Landon Bow, Nick Caamano, Ty Dellandrea, Justin Dowling, Taylor Fedun, Joel Hanley, Thomas Harley, Joel Kiviranta, Jake Oettinger, Jason Robertson

Unfit to play: None


Blues projected lineup

Jaden SchwartzBrayden Schenn — Vladimir Tarasenko

Zach Sanford — Ryan O’ReillyDavid Perron

Sammy BlaisRobert ThomasTyler Bozak

Mackenzie MacEachernOskar SundqvistAlexander Steen

Carl GunnarssonAlex Pietrangelo 

Marco ScandellaColton Parayko

Justin FaulkRobert Bortuzzo

Jake Allen

Jordan Binnington

Scratched: Ivan Barbashev, Troy Brouwer, Jacob de la Rose, Vince Dunn, Ville Husso, Klim Kostin, Jordan Kyrou, Niko Mikkola, Austin Poganski, Derrick Pouliot, Jake Walman

Unfit to play: None

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