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Stars at Blackhawks preview

Dallas tries to clinch first wild card into playoffs from West; Chicago has lost six of nine

by Scott King / Correspondent

STARS (42-31-7) at BLACKHAWKS (35-33-12)

8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, FS-SW+, NHL.TV


The Game

The Dallas Stars can assure themselves of the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference by getting one point against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Friday.

Dallas, which is 4-0-1 in its past five games after going 1-3-1 in its previous five, is one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche, who hold the second wild card in the West.

Chicago, which is 3-3-3 in its past nine games, was eliminated from playoff contention on Tuesday.


Players to watch

Stars forward Alexander Radulov has five goals and five assists in a six-game point streak. He needs two points for 300 in the NHL.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane needs one point to become the second player in Chicago history to have at least 108 points in a season; Denis Savard did it four times, most recently in 1987-88. Kane had 106 points in 2015-16, when he led the NHL in scoring.


They said it

"I think for us, we've got to go in tonight knowing you can't really turn the switch on and off. It doesn't just switch on for playoffs and switch off for the regular season. You got to play consistent and everyone wants to feel good team-wise and individually and you want to keep that going, not just fool around I guess." -- Stars center Tyler Seguin

"We're going to go out there and work hard. I think we talked a lot about not straying away from our game plan too much, just go out there and do it. We know what it takes to be successful for our team. We just didn't do it enough this year, I think we got accustomed to it a little too late in the season." -- Blackhawks center Dylan Strome


Stars projected lineup

Jason Dickinson -- Tyler Seguin -- Alexander Radulov

Mattias Janmark -- Radek Faksa -- Blake Comeau

Roope Hintz -- Justin Dowling -- Tyler Pitlick

Joel L'Esperance -- Jason Spezza -- Brett Ritchie

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen -- Ben Lovejoy

Jamie Oleksiak -- Taylor Fedun

Anton Khudobin

Landon Bow

Scratched: Julius Honka, Andrew Cogliano, Valeri Nichushkin, Jamie Benn, Roman Polak, Mats Zuccarello

Injured: Stephen Johns (upper body), Marc Methot (lower body), Martin Hanzal (back), Ben Bishop (lower body)


Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Drake Caggiula

Brendan Perlini -- Dylan Strome -- Dominik Kahun

Alex DeBrincat -- Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Chris Kunitz -- David Kampf -- John Hayden

Duncan Keith -- Erik Gustafsson

Gustav Forsling -- Brent Seabrook

Slater Koekkoek -- Connor Murphy

Corey Crawford

Cam Ward

Scratched: Carl Dahlstrom

Injured: None


Status report

Benn, Polak and Zuccarello did not travel to Chicago. Bishop also remained in Dallas, where the Stars play the Minnesota Wild on Saturday. He has missed the Stars' past three games but practiced Thursday, and coach Jim Montgomery expects him to be ready for the playoffs. … Kampf will return to the lineup after missing the past two games with a facial injury.


Stat pack

Seguin has 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his past eight games. … Toews needs one point for his first 80-point season in the NHL. If that happens, it would be the first time the Blackhawks have had two players with at least 80 points since Steve Larmer (101) and Jeremy Roenick (94) in 1990-91.

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