STARS (34-26-11) AT BLACKHAWKS (41-16-15)
TV: FS-SW, CSN-CH
Last 10: Dallas 5-4-1; Chicago 5-4-1
Season series: This is the fifth and final game between the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks in the regular season. The Blackhawks won three of the first four contests, including all three held at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The lone Stars victory took place Dec. 3 at United Center, where they prevailed 4-3 on a game-winning goal off a penalty shot by Antoine Roussel.
Big story: This game holds significant meaning for each team in regard to the Stanley Cup Playoffs picture in the Western Conference. Chicago (97 points) is three points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the Central Division, but has one less game to play. The Blackhawks need to accumulate points to secure that spot and make a run at the St. Louis Blues for the lead.
Dallas, sitting fifth in the Central, pulled within a point of overtaking the West's final wild-card spot with a 2-1 victory Monday against the Winnipeg Jets on home ice. The Phoenix Coyotes, currently holding that qualifying position, lost 4-3 in overtime on Monday at the New York Rangers and have one less game remaining.
Stars: Dallas had gone 1-for-15 on the power play in its previous five games going into the game against Winnipeg. The Stars converted two of the four man-advantages they had against the Jets and hope it carries over to the second half of the back-to-back set Tuesday in Chicago.
Dallas, which had lost 7-2 in Winnipeg a week earlier, has now won two straight games after snapping a three-game losing streak.
"Over the last 25 games, we're 19 percent," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of the power play. "We're generating quality opportunities."
The Stars sent forward Chris Mueller to the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League on Monday and recalled forward Dustin Jeffrey, who centered the fourth line.
Blackhawks: It's likely to be the NHL debut for Chicago's top prospect, 19-year old Teuvo Teravainen, who played a full season with Jokerit of the Finnish Liiga prior to his arrival last week.
The Blackhawks still lead the NHL with 240 goals scored (3.33 per game) but their scoring average has dipped to 2.9 goals per game in the previous 10 contests and they don't have high-scoring right wing Patrick Kane (lower-body injury) for the rest of the regular season.
Part of the issue in the first two games without Kane has been trouble scoring on power plays. The Blackhawks are a combined 0-for-9 since Kane left the lineup and will need to start scoring with the man-advantage in order to earn some type of home-ice advantage for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
"It could be better," said defenseman Duncan Keith, who plays one of the points on the top power-play unit and has scored three of his five goals on the man-advantage. "The last couple of games, for whatever reason, sometimes it's been trouble entering the [offensive] zone. Other times it's been a little bit tougher setting it up. Obviously we're missing Kaner a little bit, but it shouldn't be that big of a deal. It's only a couple of games, so I think we'll just keep working on it."
Who's hot: Dallas forward Tyler Seguin extended his career-high point streak to nine straight games with an assist against Winnipeg. He has six goals and 10 assists during the streak. ... Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp has points in nine of his past 11 games (two goals and nine assists) and leads Chicago with four goals and eight points in the four previous games against Dallas this season.
Injury report: Stars forward Erik Cole has missed two games with an upper-body injury and center Rich Peverley (cardiac event) is out for the rest of the season. ... Kane (lower body) is out until the playoffs, forward Bryan Bickell (upper body) is day-to-day and defenseman Michal Rozsival (lower body) is likely out. Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (rotator-cuff surgery) is expected to miss the rest of the season.