Stars-Blackhawks Preview

Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars
Thursday January 24
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (2-1-0) wrapped up a short two-game road trip with a 2-1 victory at Detroit Tuesday. Michael Ryder scored two goals and Kari Lehtonen stopped 39 shots, including 19 of 20 in the third period.

“You want to start well and 2-1-0 is almost perfect,” said Lehtonen. “We just need to keep going. A road win like this always helps for everyone to believe a little more.”

Center Cody Eakin, moved up from the fourth line to the second line for Tuesday night’s game, assisted on both of Ryder’s goals.

The Stars, who expected to return home early Wednesday morning, didn’t arrived until late Wednesday afternoon due to a mechanical issue with their plane.

The Stars remain without center Jamie Benn, a restricted free agent who is negotiating a contract with the team.

Injuries: D Aaron Rome (groin) is probable.

About the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks (3-0-0) defeated St. Louis, 3-2, in their home opener Tuesday night.  Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Viktor Stalberg scored goals for the Blackhawks, who received a 32-save effort from goaltender Corey Crawford.

Chicago has opened the season with wins over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings, the defending Pacific Division champion Phoenix Coyotes –  the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last season – and the Blues, the defending Central Division champs.

“(A strong start) is something we stressed,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. “It was a lot of tough opponents right out of the gate, but I like the focus of our team, I like the contributions were getting from a lot of guys. It’s a positive start, we’re happy but let’s keep trying to get better.”

Chicago is 3-0-0 for the first time since 1972-73.

Injuries:  F Daniel Carcillo (knee) is out.

Series Notes

*This is the first of three meetings between the Stars and Blackhawks.

*The Stars and Blackhawks split last season’s series with both teams going 2-2-0 and picking up 4 points.

*The Stars have won five of their last seven games against Chicago.

*The Stars are 98-118-34 all-time against Chicago.

Statistical tidbits

*Both teams are playing their fourth game in six nights in the NHL’s compressed schedule.

*Heading into Wednesday’s games, the Stars ranked fourth in the NHL with a .955 save percentage.

*The Stars have allowed one five-on-five goal against through the first three games.

*The Blackhawks have scored on the power play in each of their first three games.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 4-2-0 in his career against Chicago with a 1.98 goals against average and .934 save percentage.

*Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is 3-4-0 in his career against Dallas with a 2.78 goals against average and .891 save percentage.

*Chicago’s Patrick Kane is on a three-game points streak (two goals, three assists)

*Stars forward Michael Ryder is two points away from his 400th career point with 199 goals and 199 assists.

Statistical matchup

Category Stars Blackhawks
Record 2-1-0 3-0-0
Home 1-0-0 1-0-0
Away 1-1-0 2-0-0
Goals/game 2.00 4.67
Goals against/game 1.67 2.67
Shots/game 27.3 26.7
Shots against/game 37.3 28.0
Power play 2-10 (20.0) 3-13 (23.1)
Penalty kill 10-12 (83.3) 9-10 (90.0)
Faceoffs 46.1 50.0
Team Leaders Stars Blackhawks
Points Jagr: 4 Hossa, Kane: 5
Goals Jagr, Ryder: 2 Hossa: 4
Assists Jagr, Whitney, Eakin, Robidas: 2 Kane, Leddy: 3
Goaltenders Lehtonen: 2-0-0, 2.00, .950
Nilstorp: 0-1-0, 1.02, .969
Crawford: 2-0-0, 2.00. .927
Emery: 1-0-0, 4.00, .862

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