Stars hope to improve defensive effort vs. Blues

( – The addition of Jason Spezza has helped out the Dallas
offense, but the Stars struggled on the defensive side of things last time

They aim to rebound on Tuesday night with a fourth straight victory over the
visiting St. Louis Blues.

Acquired from the Ottawa Senators over the offseason, the 31-year-old Spezza
has 11 points in eight games this season. He has put together a five-game
point streak, with two goals and eight points over that time, and is now
centering Dallas’ top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.

Spezza was one of five goal-scorers in Saturday’s game versus the New York
Islanders, but backup goaltender Anders Lindback allowed six goals on 28 shots
faced in a 7-5 defeat.

Dallas yielded six goals in a loss to Philadelphia on Oct. 18, but then gave
up just five goals total in consecutive wins before Lindback struggled in
Saturday’s setback.

“I have to be better than that,” Lindback admitted after Dallas saw its five-
game point streak (4-0-1) come to an end.

Kari Lehtonen figures to be back in net tonight for the Stars and has solid
career numbers in 17 meetings (15 starts) versus the Blues, going 10-4-1 with
a 1.86 goals against average and .935 save percentage.

The Stars have won each of their past three meetings with the Blues since
losing seven of eight in the series.

St. Louis put the brakes on a two-game slide with a 3-2 win over the Chicago
Blackhawks on Saturday. Ryan Reaves and Dmitrij Jaskin scored during a 1:45
span late in the second period to snap a tie game.

Jaden Schwartz also lit the lamp and Brian Elliott posted 22 saves in the win.

“We played real well,” said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who had two assists.
“It was a tough start … but we did a fantastic job of overcoming.”

Pietrangelo is in line to get some help tonight on the blue line as Carl
Gunnarsson is ready to make his season debut. The defenseman, acquired in a
trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs over the offseason, had been recovering
from a hip injury suffered last season, but has been medically cleared to

“It feels pretty good,” Gunnarsson told St. Louis’ website. “The last hurdle I
would say is to get a game in. That’s when you know how it feels. That’s going
to be different than practice, different than skating around on your own. Just
get in there, see how that feels.”

The 27-year-old Gunnarsson had spent his first five NHL seasons with the
Leafs, posting 86 points in 304 games.

But while Gunnarsson is in line to debut, a nagging bacterial infection that
has ripped through the Blues locker room has Ryan Reaves and Vladimir
Tarasenko questionable for tonight. Neither was able to practice on Monday
due to the illness.

Elliott will get the call for the Blues tonight and is 3-2-0 in his career
against the Stars with a 2.28 GAA and .924 save percentage.