Blackhawks and Stars meet up again
The Blackhawks (21-6-5) are on the road again, traveling to Dallas for their 4th match-up of the regular season against the Stars (14-9-5). It’s the first game of a back-to-back that will see the Blackhawks play at home against the Flyers on Wednesday.
The Blackhawks beat the Florida Panthers 6-2 on Sunday, earning a W after 3 consecutive losses, while the Stars beat the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 on Saturday afternoon. Both teams have gained confidence with their most recent win.
The Stars are definitely feeling the return of their star, Tyler Seguin, to the lineup. On Saturday he had 4 points and scored a natural hat trick, with his linemate, rookie Valeri Nichushkin earning 4 points as well. Seguin’s offense has been key to the team, as has been the play of goaltender Kari Lehtonen, even though backup goalie Dan Ellis was in net on Saturday, making 27 saves out of 28 shots. We can expect Lehtonen (2.25 GAA, .926 SV%) in goal for the Stars on Tuesday evening.
The Blackhawks will definitely have Antti Raanta in net, as their Stanley Cup winning goaltender Corey Crawford suffered a groin injury on Sunday. It is still unsure how long he’ll be out, but Raanta said to be confident to start for the Hawks. Even though he gave up a goal due to shaky puck handling, Raanta was solid for the Hawks, making 29 saves off of 31 shots.
The Blackhawks power play has been really strong, with three power play goals scored during Sunday’s contest. However, their penalty kill still suffers, 29th in the league with only the New York Islanders behind them; they did go 5-for-5 on the PK on Sunday, but the Florida Panthers’ PP is 29th in the league. It should still instill confidence in the PK units going forward, hopefully getting the balance they had last season, where the Chicago penalty kill was one of the best in the league.
The Dallas power play is itself at the bottom of the league leaderboard (28th), but the team has had no issues with even strength offense with their stars in the lineup. But while the Chicago defence has been stellar this season, the Stars have little to write home about, relying on their goaltenders sometimes too much.
It should be an interesting contest; these division rivals are seeing a lot of each other and building a healthy dislike that led to a fight between Andrew Shaw and Antoine Roussel on Tuesday last week when they met up at the United Center. Both teams are fast, and full of offensive skill and great goaltending, and their past match-ups this season were fun and entertaining.
Game time is 8.30 p.m. ET and can be seen live on CSN-CH and FS-SW.