After Thursday’s 4-0 shutout win against the Colorado Avalanche, the Dallas Stars have had a very successful start to their home stand. Alexander Radulov returned from his healthy scratch with a bang, and reminded the league that he’s an elite player by scoring his first career hat trick. By shutting down Colorado’s top line with key line matchups and smart defense and goaltending, Dallas helped bolster their spot in the current Wild Card race.
With a win streak and crucial points on the line, the Stars will meet the Chicago Blackhawks at home tonight for the third of four matchups this season.
Thursday saw the return of not only Radulov, but also Andrew Cogliano who missed the past three games with an upper body injury. Radek Faksa was out with a neck injury that he sustained on Tuesday against the New York Rangers and is considered day-to-day. Faksa will not drawn into the lineup tonight as a result.
Ben Bishop had an outstanding performance against the Avalanche, stacking up two straight shutouts in this home stand. He has only allowed two goals or fewer in the last seven of his nine starts and now ranks second in the league in save percentage (.930) and goals against average (2.13).
With Sean Tierney’s latest round of graphs, we take a look at performance versus expectation when it comes to the workload that the goaltenders face for each team. Dallas has slowly but surely moved into the “easy work, good results” corner of the graph. This shift will be tested tonight against the Blackhawks and their point leader, Patrick Kane.
The Chicago Blackhawks have been another one of the league’s weird stories this season. They’ve had a rollercoaster year, riding some high highs and some low lows. They’ve undergone a drastic coaching change through firing Joel Quenneville and hiring of one of the youngest ever coaches in Jeremy Colliton. They’ve also made key trades and acquisitions, so the Blackhawks are not the team Stars fans might recognize from the past few years. The future looks bright for Chicago with a younger trending core, sporting the likes of speedy Alex DeBrincat, 2015 third overall pick Dylan Strome, and Drake Caggiula acquired from the Edmonton Oilers.
Dallas Stars Lineup
Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Jamie Benn - Jason Dickinson - Blake Comeau
Mattias Janmark - Jason Spezza - Brett Ritchie
Andrew Cogliano - Joel L’Esperance - Valeri Nichushkin
Miro Heiskanen - John Klingberg
Esa Lindell - Roman Polak
Taylor Fedun - Ben Lovejoy
Chicago Blackhawks Lineup
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - John Hayden
Alex DeBrincat - Dylan Strome - Brendan Perlini
Dominik Kahun - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Chris Kunitz - David Kampf - Marcus Kruger
Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Slater Koekkoek - Erik Gustafsson
Carl Dahlstrom - Connor Murphy
Keys to the Game
- Keep the line shutdowns rolling. The Benn - Dickinson - Comeau line shut down the Avalanche top line effectively on Thursday and Dallas would be smart to calculate their shifts against the Blackhawks effectively.
- While Khudobin may get the start tonight, goaltending was one of the big keys against the Avalanche and previous matchups against the Blackhawks. The Stars goaltending tandem has been especially strong this season, so keeping with that trend tonight will be crucial.
- The Blackhawks roster boasts one of the league’s most dynamic forwards in Patrick Kane and Dallas would be smart to keep him off of the scoreboard.
Did you know?
Dallas has won five of their last six games against Chicago and are 2-1-0 against them at the American Airlines Center.