Gameday Preview: Dallas Stars @ Chicago Blackhawks (7:00pm CST)

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

So you wanted to be in the Central: The Stars meet the Blackhawks for the third of four meetings in just under a month's time tonight.

The Dallas Stars are on a two game losing streak. Or, if you like, they've collected points in three straight games and four of six overall on a three-game homestand. Getting points for losing offers a range of perspectives, but the Stars were clearly disappointed Suday night.

Dallas appeared in control against the Oilers for long stretches and ultimately poised for the full two points with a lead late in the third but couldn't hold on.

"Yeah it was tough," Ryan Garbutt said after scoring twice. "I was working really hard trying to get the win for Stephane Robidas there. We all feel bad for him, he battled through that broken leg. I thought all the guys played hard for him tonight and it was unfortunate we couldn't get the win."

The dynamic Chicago machine kept rolling Phoenix Saturday night, getting goals from Patrick Kane, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Andrew Shaw, Marian Hossa and Brandon Bollig as they moved to 20-4-4 on the season with a .786 points percentage.

The Stars had a good showing on national television last week against the Ducks. Tonight will be a little tougher as they once again are featured on NBC Sports Network. Puck drop should be around 7:10 CST.

The Stars:

Tyler Seguin skated on his own before practice and barring a surprise probably won't be able to go tonight.

So where do the Dallas Stars find offense? Apart from a six-goal outburst against the Ducks the Stars have scored 2, 1, 1, 2, and 2 in five of their last six games.

"We've got to find a way to bear down," Jamie Benn said after the Edmonton loss. "I think we've been saying that for a few games now. We're putting up a lot of shots each game, we've just got to find a way to get greasier goals in the dirty areas. That's the way you're going to score goals.

The trick against the Hawks tonight will likely be possessing the puck in the first place for any meaningful length of attack time, before they even get to the hard part of trying to put the puck in the net.

Stars lines Sunday evening were these:


Lindy Ruff said Monday that he'd like to get Kevin Connauton in a game soon, but that they liked Brenden Dillon with Jamie Oleksiak at home Sunday. For either rookie this will be a monumental test in a hostile environment tonight.

Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in the Dallas net.

From Stars PR: "Goaltender KARI LEHTONEN'S next NHL game will the 400th of his career. LEHTONEN has played 399 career NHL games, 195 of those as a member of the Dallas Stars. The Finnish-born netminder will be just the second goaltender from Finland to appear in at least 400 career NHL games, second only to Mikka Kiprusoff, who has appeared in 623 tilts. The Helsinki native is also three wins shy of 100 for his career with the Stars."

The Hawks:

After the Hawks dispatched the Stars on Friday night they traveled to Phoenix to play back-to-back, but that didn't slow them down as they took down Tippett's bunch by a score of 5-2, giving them six straight wins and six over seven overall on their annual "Circus Trip", which is being called the best in team history.

In that stretch they outscored their opposition 22-10.

Beyond that there's not much to say that wasn't said Friday. It's Chicago. They're pretty terrific. They lead the league at 3.5 goals per game. If there's any place they're vulnerable, and Phoenix was able to take advantage of it where the Stars were not, it's on the penalty kill where they rank 28th in the NHL.

Unfortunately the Stars are 4 for their last 57 (7.01%) on the job.

Corey Crawford will start in the Chicago net. The Hawks should be without Bryan Bickell and Mike Kostka.




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