The Dallas Stars’ playoff hopes took a hit with a 2-1 loss at the hands of the St. Louis Blues Friday night.
Kari Lehtonen made 18 saves on 20 shots and Antoine Roussel scored his sixth goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Brian Elliott and the Blues.
Two big-bodied, power forwards scored for the Blues, starting about halfway through the first period. A scrum behind the Stars’ net led to all four Dallas penalty killers being behind the red line staring at the puck.
The Blues won the scrum and Alex Steen got the puck to a wide open Alex Pietrangelo at the top of the right circle. He fired a slap shot that hit a screened Lehtonen in the head. Chris Stewart provided the screen and was in position at the top of the crease to pounce on the rebound and put it in the net.
Ryan Eaves scored the game winner for St. Louis 7:52 into the second period. Brenden Dillon attempted a pass up the boards to get out of the zone, but Loui Eriksson was in the middle of the ice and Jamie Benn was cheating out of the zone trying to get a quick offensive play going.
Eaves stole the puck near the blue line and passed it to Chris Porter near the corner. Porter attempted a centering pass, but it hit off the side of the net and slid out in front of Lehtonen. Eaves shielded off Alex Goligoski and Eriksson as he drove the net and lifted a backhand shot past Lehtonen.
The Stars put heavy pressure on the Blues in the third period, outshooting them 10-5. Roussel was credited with a goal that finally put the Stars on the board. After a few good keep-ins at the blue line by Stephane Robidas, he eventually got a pass across the blue line from Aaron Rome.
Robidas blasted a slap shot on net with Roussel screening Elliott. Replays didn’t clearly show a deflection by Roussel, but Robidas was awarded the assist on the play.
The Stars didn’t receive much help from their special teams. They were 0-for-2 on the power play and 2-for-3 with a man in the box.
Dallas continues their fight for a playoff spot at the Los Angeles Kings Sunday night.