There will be no lack of familiarity but surely some contempt when the Dallas Stars face off with the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.
The two teams met for the first time this season in St. Louis on Tuesday, with the Stars grinding out a 3-1 victory thanks to a pair of goals from Tyler Seguin and excellent work between the pipes from goalie Ben Bishop.
Since then, the Stars (23-18-4, 50 points) concluded a three-game road trip with a 2-1 loss at Philadelphia in which the Flyers snapped an eight-game losing streak. Jamie Benn scored Dallas' only goal late in the third period as backup goalie Anton Khudobin kept the Stars in the match with a series of spectacular saves through the final 10 minutes.
Saturday's contest is the first of a six-game homestand through Feb. 1 for the Stars. Dallas is 14-5-2 in its own building this season and can make some real hay over the next three weeks if it keeps that level of success going.
"You want to take care of home ice for sure, but at this point every game you want to get the result," Dallas forward Devin Shore told NHL.com. "For the short term, if it gives us more confidence being in our rink, then we'll take it. But we just want to make sure we're bringing the same thing every night, regardless of what building we're in."
The lengthy homestand will give the team some additional practice time to address situations and scenarios which dogged the team through its first 45 games with rookie coach Jim Montgomery behind the bench.
"We've won games where we shouldn't have, and we've lost games we shouldn't have -- but that's going to happen," Montgomery recently told the media. "But learning throughout those processes and believing in what your team identity is and playing to it will give you strength and allow you to have success later in the year."
Seguin recorded an assist in the loss Thursday night to extend his scoring streak to seven games (six goals, five assists) -- his longest point streak since he scored in eight in a row during the 2015-16 campaign.
Since the calendar turned to 2019, Seguin's six goals are the most in the league and his nine points over that span are tied for the third.
The Blues (18-20-4, 40 points) head into North Texas after beating Montreal 4-1 at home on Thursday as rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington stopped 28 shots in his second career start. Binnington has given up one goal on the 54 shots he's faces in those two starts.
"It's my first start at home, and I'm pretty excited about that," Binnington told reporters. "It was an exciting game, entertaining. We're happy with that outcome.
"It's just two (games), right?" Binnington added. "It's all about the next one. No one really cares at this level."
Oskar Sundqvist had a goal and an assist in the win, while Jay Bouwmeester, Sammy Blais and Robert Thomas added goals for St. Louis.
Thomas left the game midway through the first period with an upper-body injury, however, and will not accompany the team on its four-city trip that begins Saturday in Dallas.
"It's a tough blow for the team too because he's an important player on our team," Blues interim coach Craig Berube told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about Thomas. "He was coming around, he was getting more ice, power-play time, scored a power-play goal. It's unfortunate that happened."
--Field Level Media