Stars Road Trip Continues in Chicago

After two tough games against Colorado, Dallas needs to maintain focus against a Blackhawks team that is out of the playoff hunt.

The Dallas Stars began a short road trip in Denver, and thanks to the heroics of Jake Oettinger, they pulled out a hard earned (if not well deserved) win. The trip continues on Friday evening against an old nemesis, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Chicago is on the second day of a back to back, having lost to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night. That said, Chicago is primed for the Stars, having rested goaltender Marc Andre Fleury in anticipation of the divisional matchup.

Dallas went 2-2-0 in Chicago last year, with one of those wins being in overtime. Oettinger split starts with Anton Khudobin, and they ended up splitting the wins and losses as well. Depth scoring was what carried the Stars, with the FCC line outscoring Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson.

Which all leads to how these rivalry games have played out over the last few years. Chicago’s top lines match up well against the Stars, and their stretch game can create odd man rush chances. Dallas tends to get their opportunities at the bottom of the lineup, which may not work often against most of the league, but seems to work against the Blackhawks.

Dallas has played better on the road as of late. The record still isn’t great, 9-12-1, but five straight road wins has turned an early season unmitigated disaster into something to build on.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) - Roope Hintz (24) - Joe Pavelski (16)
Jamie Benn (14) - Tyler Seguin (91) - Denis Gurianov (34)
Michael Raffl (18) - Radek Faksa (12) - Luke Glendening (11)
Joel Kiviranta (25) - Jacob Peterson (40) - Alexander Radulov (47)

Ryan Suter (20) - Miro Heiskanen (4)
Esa Lindell (23) - John Klingberg (3)
Thomas Harley (55) - Jani Hakanpaa (2)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Braden Holtby (70)

Andrej Sekera has been place on injured reserve, retroactive to January 28, but is still considered day to day.

Chicago Blackhawks Lineup

Brandon Hagel (38) - Lukas Reichel (27) - Patrick Kane (88)
Alex DeBrincat (12) - Kirby Dach (77) - Mackenzie Entwistle (58)
Dominik Kubalik (8) - Dylan Strome (17) - Sam Lafferty (24)
Philipp Kurashev (23) - Henrik Borgstrom (13) - Ryan Carpenter (22)

Calvin De Haan (44) - Seth Jones (4)
Caleb Jones (82) - Connor Murphy (5)
Jake McCabe (6) - Alec Regula (75)

Marc-Andre Fleury (29)
Arvid Soderblom (40)

Jonathan Teows went into concussion protocol on January 28, and today was place on injured reserve prompting the call up of Reichel. Reichel has been on somewhat of an offensive tear with the Rockford Ice Hogs, and is a top prospect in the Blackhawks system.

Per, the Chicago loss last night to Columbus pushed the teams playoff odds to under 1%.

Keys to the Game

Stretch Defense. Chicago primes their rush offense by using stretch passes to forwards who fly the zone. If that isn’t available, they use rink wide passes to create defensive imbalance. Dallas has had trouble with these tactics in the past, especially since their forecheck attempts to contain play to one side of the ice. If Dallas can’t bottle up Chicago in their own end, they’re vulnerable to odd man rushes.

Depth Scoring. Even without Toews, Chicago can produce with their top six. Dallas has the advantage in the bottom six, but they need to produce on the scoresheet.

Goaltending. Oettinger is back in net after his outstanding effort in Colorado. Fleury can stand on his head sometimes. Either netminder has the ability to steal this game.