Fading Stars host Tanking Blackhawks

One of these teams should win this game. What will it take for Dallas to realize that its them?

Ahh. Remember the halcyon days of the fall of 2022, where the Dallas Stars would blow out lesser opponents and the question wasn’t whether the team would score, but how many and by whom?

In November, this game would have ended 5-1, with a late Chicago Blackhawks goal ruining Jake Oettinger’s shutout. But its February, and these Stars only play close games, where they go to overtime and lose.

This preview should be a discussion of how the Stars need to stay focused against a clearly inferior Chicago team. Instead, the focus is on how Dallas can break out of a rapidly lengthening slump.

Stanley Cup contenders don’t prolong these bad stretches, especially against bad teams. The Boston Bruins were in a similar spot earlier this month - and ended it in Dallas. Chicago should be an easier out.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) - Denis Gurianov (34)
Mason Marchment (27) – Tyler Seguin (91) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Radek Faksa (12) – Fredrik Olofsson (42)

Miro Heiskanen (4) – Colin Miller (6)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)
Ryan Suter (20) – Nils Lundkvist (5)
Joel Hanley (44)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Matt Murray (32)

Scott Wedgewood’s practice maintenance days have turned into a missed game. That means that Murray is up to backup Oettinger. In addition, the salary cap chasing Stars have split up the Freddies, with Olofsson sticking with the NHL club (and putting Joel Hanley into the lineup as a seventh defender/potential fourth line grinder).

Multiple Stars could use a goal, and Chicago could be coming into town at just the right time. Defensively, Dallas needs to protect against the stretch pass and outside speed.

Chicago Blackhawks Lineup

Philipp Kurashev (23) - Max Domi (13) - Patrick Kane (88)
Tyler Johnson (90) - Cole Guttman (70) - Taylor Raddysh (11)
Jason Dickinson (17) - Sam Lafferty (24) - Andreas Athanasiou (89)
Boris Katchouk (14) - Brett Seney (62) - Colin Blackwell (43)

Jake McCabe (6) - Seth Jones (4)
Jack Johnson (8) - Connor Murphy (5)
Isaak Phillips (41) - Caleb Jones (82)

Petr Mrazek (34)
Jaxson Stauber (30)

Chicago is on the back end of three games in four days days, with travel after last nights overtime win over the Vegas Golden Knights. Mrazek started that game, and Stauber has been solid during limited use so far this season (2.77 GAA, .912 S% over five decisions, including four wins).

Beyond that, Chicago - the organization - is in full on tank mode. That apparently doesn’t trickle down to the players; the team is on a three game winning streak that includes a 5-3 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs in addition to last night victory over Vegas.

The obvious story line, with all of the talk of the trade deadline, is Patrick Kane and a potential move to the Stars. See for yourself what he brings to the table, along with Max Domi. And check out Jason Dickinson to see if his face can survive another return to Dallas.

Keys to the Game

Top Line. Face it. There is no way that Pavelski, Hintz and Robertson shouldn’t dominate this game.

Puck Control. The Stars have reverted a bit to a chip and charge game as offensive strategy and high flips out of the defensive zone. Make it a point to exit the defensive zone and enter the offensive zone with control.

Kane. OK. This is my bias, but make Patrick Kane look like there is no way he can help this team as a trade deadline rental.