By LOU KORAC
DALLAS -- With their Western Conference Second Round series against the Dallas Stars tied 2-2 and down to a best-of-3, the Blues know they have to win at least one more game at American Airlines Center.
And they're not the least bit concerned.
Being one of the best road teams in the Western Conference during the regular season, the Blues have already won a game here, and took two of three in their first round series at United Center against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"When we get away from our building, I think we play a simple game," right wing Troy Brouwer said. "We pride ourselves with playing a simple game to start with, getting pucks behind them, getting in on the forecheck, trying to create offense from behind their goal line. Sometimes when you're at home, you feel like you have to impress a little bit more. Plus also, we get together, guys have a lounge in the room. We spend a lot of good times together, hang out, have dinner together, it's just a good experience to be on the road."
So what's the game of choice? Cards?
"Sometimes play cards," Brouwer said. "We've got video games, Mario Kart. I think one of the guys brought a wedge last time and some foam balls. We hit balls around the room, playing little games and stuff like that."
Any damage to the room from wedgeball?
"I don't think so," Brouwer said. "Maybe a few divots out of the carpet, but that's it."
But there's a comfortable factor for the Blues away from home, and it's evident at times.
"I think that's the way we're built, the way we play," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "When we play on the road, it helps us in a way because our game is simple. It's straight lines and when you get on the road you're not worrying about trying to do anything else or anything extra like when you're at home. You always want to win those games at home, it always has a little more importance to it it seems. When we get on the road, we have a very good focus and a very good mentality of just doing the things that make us great. That's why we've been so successful on the road."
Not much has separated the Blues and Stars in this series. Three of the four games have been decided by one goal, aside from the Blues' 6-1 blowout win in Game 3.
"(It's) pretty even," center Paul Stastny said. "I think it's been back and forth. (Thursday) could have gone either way. That's what we expect. I don't think anyone, like I said in the first series, no one expected four straight. You knew they were going to come hard. You win a game 6-1, good teams forget about it right away, you know they were going to bring their best effort. They found a way to win it. Now we fix a couple things we didn't like about our game, and we keep playing the same way going into Dallas."
There's a possibility coach Ken Hitchcock will make a lineup change or a couple lineup changes based on the quick turnaround in the series.
"I just think we have to decide how we want to play the game in (Games) 5 and 6," Hitchcock said. "I think the players are giving so much right now every shift, depth and competitiveness will become a big issue and with short rest, this is really three games in five days, four-and-a-half days, so you're going to need everybody and I think the deeper we can play our lineup, the better. We have a chance to maybe help ourselves by changing a few personnel here."
So could the difference come down to a fluky play or something out of the ordinary? Perhaps.
"Yeah and no, sometimes it comes down to who's in and who's out," Hitchcock said. "They're probably thinking, 'if we get those two players (Tyler Seguin and Patrick Eaves) back in, we're substantially better,' and we're thinking if we can get better play from another line, we're substantially better. I think sometimes it comes down to who's in and out of your lineup and things like that. We have a chance to maybe change our lineup, we'll look at, and help ourselves have more depth. So there's lots of stuff that goes into it. A lot of it is when you get two teams that are competing at such a high level right now ... like I said last night and throughout Game 3, there's not much difference right now. There could be a difference on who comes in and out of your lineup.
Neither Seguin or Eaves (lower-body injuries) are expected to play, but this is the playoffs, and Stars coach Lindy Ruff could be holding a trump card in his sleeve.
Neither the Blues or Stars held a morning skate with the noon start time today (NBC, KYKY 98.1-FM) and there was no media availability beforehand, so lineup changes will become more clear during pregame warmups.