Stars-Blackhawks Preview

Monday, 12.09.2013 / 9:28 PM
Mark Stepneski

Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars

Tuesday December 10

7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (14-9-5) are coming off a 5-1 victory over Philadelphia at American Airlines Center on Saturday. The Stars scored three goals in a 1:02 span of the second period to turn a 1-1 game into a 4-1 Dallas lead. Tyler Seguin had three goals and one assist and Valeri Nichushkin had one goal and three assists.

The victory pushed the Stars’ points streak to six games (3-0-3), and gave them a 9-3-4 mark over the last 16 games.

“Our guys played extremely well,” said goaltender Dan Ellis, who stopped 27 of 28 shots. “We’ve got so many young guys in the lineup right now stepping in. It’s a testament to our depth. It’s been fantastic and we want to keep it going.”

The Stars lost center Vernon Fiddler to an upper body injury in the first period of Saturday’s game. He’s expected to miss this week’s games.

This will be the Stars’ third game in the last 12 days against the Blackhawks and the fourth in the last month.

“More of the same,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said when asked what he expected Tuesday. “They are a real dangerous counterpunch team. If you are careless with the puck or don’t do the right things, their counterpunch will kill you. At the same time, when we are on top of our game, we can give them all they can handle with our speed. The Chicago game (Tuesday) was a low-energy game for our team, and I expect our energy level to be right up there again.”

Dallas recalled forward Colton Sceviour from the AHL on Monday.

Kari Lehtonen is the likely starter in goal Tuesday for the Stars.

Injuries: C Vernon Fiddler (upper body), D Trevor Daley (ankle) and D Stephane Robidas (leg) are out.

About the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks (21-6-5) snapped a three-game winless streak with a 6-2 win over Florida at United Center on Sunday. Six different players scored for Chicago, which was 3-4 on the power play and was a perfect 5-5 on the penalty kill.

"It shows how important special teams can be in the course of a game, not only the power play, scoring, but our penalty kill had some big kills," said Chicago forward Patrick Sharp, who scored on the power play and chipped in two assists as well. "It's not always the most important thing in the game, but it helped us out big time."

The victory did come at a cost. The Blackhawks lost goaltender Corey Crawford to a lower body injury in the first period. He is out for Tuesday’s game and did not travel with the team.

The Blackhawks recalled Kent Simpson from Rockford of the AHL on Monday. To make room for Simpson, the Blackhawks placed forward Bryan Bickell on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 19.

Antti Raanta, who made 29 saves in relief of Crawford on Sunday, is expected to start Tuesday in goal for Chicago. Raanta is 3-0-1 with a 2.16 goals against average and .922 save percentage.

Injuries: G Corey Crawford (lower body), G Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) and LW Bryan Bickell (lower body) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the fourth of five meetings between the two teams.

*The Stars are 1-1-1 (3 points) in the season series.

*The Blackhawks are 2-1-0 (4 points).

*November 9, Chicago at Dallas: Blackhawks 5, Stars 2

*November 29, Chicago at Dallas: Blackhawks 2, Stars 1 (SO)

*December 3, Dallas at Chicago: Stars 4, Blackhawks 3

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 9-3-4 (22 points) over their last 16 games.

*The Blackhawks are 11-4-1 (23 points) over their last 16 games.

*The Blackhawks are 6-19 (31.6 percent) on the power play over the last five games.

*The Stars are 6-68 (8.8 percent) on the power play over their last20 games, and are 1-42 (2.4 percent) at home.

*Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin has points in 3 straight games (2 goals, 5 assists).

*Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has points in 5 straight games (1 goal, 8 assists).

*Kane leads the Blackhawks in goals (16) and points (37).

*Tyler Seguin leads the Stars in goals (15) and points (27).

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