Though there is still plenty of time left in the season, the Dallas Stars don't want to wait too much longer before making a run up the Western Conference ladder.
Losing their leading scorer won't make going on a hot streak any easier.
Dallas had a chance on Saturday to pick up some points over a club it is battling for a playoff spot, but instead lost a tough 2-1 decision to visiting Colorado. The defeat leaves the Stars 10th overall in the West, two points back of a playoff spot.
"We didn't have our best stuff today," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "We were still in a position to find some points and that's the next step."
Benn had four shots and four hits in nearly 21 minutes of ice time on Saturday, but the 22-year-old underwent an appendectomy on Sunday afternoon that will sideline him for 10-to-14 days. Benn leads Dallas with 42 points off 13 goals and 29 assists.
Forward Mike Ribeiro already missed his third game in a row with a slightly torn right MCL for Dallas and is day-to-day.
The Stars will need to dig deep this evening against the Blues, who are an NHL-best 18-3-3 at home this season and 10-0-2 at Scottrade Center since their last regulation loss there on Dec. 3 to Chicago to tie a single-season club record. St. Louis followed up an overtime loss to Vancouver on Thursday in the opener of a five-game homestand with a 3-2 shootout triumph over Minnesota.
The Blues came into the meeting 0-5 in shootouts this year and just 1-of-17 on their tiebreak attempts, but defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk opted to go with speed and scored the only goal of the shootout in the second round on a high wrister to the blocker side of the Wild's Josh Harding.
"I watched a little film earlier and I saw that he kind of comes down with his blocker and leaves a little bit on his left side open," Shattenkirk said. "As I was coming in I kind of faked the shot and didn't see him bite and I kind of knew that left side might have been open so I shot it as hard as I could."
Jaroslav Halak turned aside all three skaters he faced in the tiebreaker after making 29 saves through overtime. St. Louis improved to 5-0-1 in its past six overall and sits two points behind Chicago for first place in the Central Division.
Shattenkirk also had an assist in regulation and Alex Pietrangelo had one of the two goals to give him a pair of tallies and seven assists over a six-game point streak that is a career high.
St. Louis snapped a five-game series slide to Dallas with a 5-3 home win on Dec. 26, getting a pair of goals from Chris Stewart and 20 saves by Halak, who is 8-0-3 with a 1.76 goals-against average in his last 11 starts overall.
The defeat left the Stars stuck on 99 wins versus the Blues in franchise history.