-- Over their last six games, the Dallas Stars
are just 2-for-19 on the power play. Marc Crawford
's team has still managed to go 3-2-1 over this stretch, but it's clear Dallas needs to be better with the man advantage. Thursday night's game with Chicago, a team the Stars are 4-for-9 on the power play against this year, presents a great opportunity to do exactly that.
"There's no logical explanation to it [our success against their penalty kill]," Crawford said. "They're a good penalty-killing team. We've gotten shots through and maybe somewhat focused playing against them. We scored a big power-play goal in the last game. We're doing the things that are giving us chances and we've got to continue to try to make each individual power play a dangerous one and the one that gives us momentum."
However, Dallas will be without its top scorer on the power play for Thursday's game as All-Star winger Loui Eriksson
will miss the contest with an upper-body injury suffered in a loss to San Jose on Tuesday night.
The Stars have recalled Brandon Segal
from the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League and he will be in the lineup. Segal has 4 goals and 9 points in 36 games for Dallas this season.
"Segal will be in tonight. He gives us another option tonight, another big body. Played well this year and really was a victim of circumstances," Crawford said. "We're pleased to have him back. I think he'll come in and do a great job for us."
Dallas did score on the power play in the loss to the Sharks two nights ago when a third-period tally by Jamie Benn
cut the San Jose lead to 4-3. But two key members of that unit acknowledge they need to be better with the advantage and that improvement must begin soon.
"They're a good power-play team too," Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski
said of the Blackhawks. "That's going to be a big part of the game, special teams. If we can win that battle, it'll give us a real good chance tonight."
And for All-Star center Brad Richards
, who serves as Dallas' point man on the power play, delivering better results has been a big focus this week.
"We've been talking about it a lot lately. We're going to keep focusing on it," Richards said. "Obviously we've got to be better, but if for some reason it doesn't go right, we've got to get it out of our minds, continue to battle and try to win games."
But neither player could really explain why they haven't been scoring more on the power play of late.
"You always want to get a lot of pucks to the net to create some opportunities. We're getting chances," Goligoski said. "We're coming into the zone good, but you go through stretches like this. Obviously we can be better. I think we will be."
Besides Eriksson, Dallas will also be without winger Adam Burish
, a member of Chicago's 2010 Stanley Cup championship team, for a third straight game.
Crawford did have further news as to when Burish, a valuable member of the Stars' penalty kill, might be back on the ice.
"He is improving," Crawford said. "I would say that he'll probably be doubtful for Saturday night, too, because looking at what we've got next week, we'll probably exercise caution."
This is the final regular-season meeting of the season between these clubs. Dallas is 2-1-0 against Chicago so far.