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'We are rolling': Stars look to make history against Blackhawks

Dallas can set a new franchise mark for consecutive victories with a win at Chicago

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer
Stars (15-8-2) at Blackhawks (9-9-5)

7 p.m., United Center

TV: NBCSN

Radio: The Ticket 1310-AM, 96.7-FM

 

CHICAGO -- The Stars have a chance to set a new franchise record for consecutive wins. Dallas has won seven straight, which has been done four times by the franchise previous to this. If the Stars take a victory tonight against the Blackhawks, they will have made significant history.

Maybe the most fascinating thing about this 14-1-1 run the Stars are on is that it has been done in so many different ways. Anton Khudobin won a goalie duel against Robin Lehner Saturday in Dallas, stopping 38 shots and winning in a shootout, 2-1. Before that, Dallas took a 5-3 win over Winnipeg. On Monday, the Stars overwhelmed Vegas, 4-2 at American Airlines Center.

Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg were the heroes in that game. Khudobin was the first star against Chicago. Jamie Benn led the way against Winnipeg. It has been something different pretty much every night.

Klingberg missed six games with a lower body injury, but now has four assists in his first two games back. He played 18:03 Monday, had eight shot attempts and set up two power play goals with nifty little shots from the point. He is starting to regain the form that has made him one of the top 15 defensemen since he joined the NHL in 2014.

"I thought he made significant strides," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "I thought he was a lot more decisive with the puck, both carrying it and passing it, tonight. I thought he had some great plays on the power play."

Video: VGK@DAL: Montgomery on keys to Stars' win streak

Montgomery said he gave Miro Heiskanen some rest time on Monday because he knew the team was playing on back-to-back nights with travel. Klingberg afforded the Stars the ability to go deeper into their defensive depth, which has been a bit of an issue in recent games.

Klingberg said he's starting to get back to his regular rhythm.

"I think there's still something to build on timing-wise and stuff like that, but like I said last game, I have been working pretty hard with Stan [Tugolukov] on the ice with keeping the hands and everything in shape," Klingberg said of his workouts with the Stars' skills coach during his rehab. "It's all about the timing and maybe come back to game speed, but obviously the team is playing with a lot of confidence now and I can really tell it's a different team from now to when I got injured, so it's nice to be back.

"We are rolling, we have good confidence and everyone is a big part of this."

No player played less than Corey Perry's 11:16 and no player played more than Esa Lindell's 23:59, so the Stars should be pretty well rested for tonight's game.

 

What to watch

Stars coaches were really concerned that their team got caught up in a Chicago-style game Saturday in Dallas. It was 41-39 in shots on goal, with Dallas leading. And while the Stars were able to take a 2-1 shootout win behind Anton Khudobin's fantastic play, they would prefer things were a little tighter.

Khudobin lost a 6-1 game in Chicago on April 5 when he faced 38 shots on goal, but won a 4-3 game on Feb. 24 when he stopped 44 of 47 shots. This is a trend the coaching staff would like to put a stop to.

Dallas focused on great defense out of the gate Monday and had a 16-6 advantage in shots on goal in the first period against Vegas while grabbing a 2-0 lead. Look for a similar emphasis in the first period Tuesday.

Dallas was 5-7-0 on the second night of back-to-backs last season. It is 3-0-0 this season.

Video: CHI@DAL: Khudobin sprawls out to stop multiple shots

 

Khudobin expected to start in net

Khudobin is expected in net after Ben Bishop played Monday against Vegas. Khudobin stopped 38 of 39 shots against these same Blackhawks on Saturday in a 2-1 shootout win. Khudobin is 6-3-1 on the season with a 2.15 GAA and .929 save percentage.

Dallas will make its adjustments after warm-up. Taylor Fedun and Joel Hanley were healthy scratches Monday, while Justin Dowling was out with an upper-body injury. Any of the three might play.

Corey Crawford is expected in net for Chicago. Crawford this season is 4-5-2 with a 3.02 and a .914. In his career against the Stars, he is 16-11-1 with a 2.81 GAA and .902 save percentage.

Video: CHI@DAL: Khudobin makes great save to rob Kane

 

By the numbers
59

Patrick Kane has 59 points (28 goals, 31 assists) and is plus-14 in 49 career games against the Stars.

 

91

The Stars have been shorthanded 91 times this season, third most in the NHL. They were shorthanded four times Monday against Vegas and also were shorthanded four times Saturday against Chicago.

 

52.5

The Stars rank fourth in the NHL in faceoff winning percentage at 52.5 percent. Chicago ranks 22nd at 49.0 percent. The two teams split 60 draws evenly on Saturday.

 

He said it

"It's not a secret, everybody is working in all the games. Different guys are stepping up. It's a good that different lines are stepping up and we get that result. Everybody played a good, solid game. …(Tuesday) is another big test for us, back to back in a hard building to play. Chicago is a division opponent, so it's huge."

-- Stars winger Alexander Radulov after a 4-2 win over Vegas in Dallas Monday

 

Stars projected lineup

Jamie Benn - Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin

Alexander Radulov - Jason Dickinson - Corey Perry

Mattias Janmark - Joe Pavelski - Denis Gurianov

Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau

Esa Lindell - John Klingberg

Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen

Andrej Sekera - Roman Polak

Anton Khudobin

Ben Bishop

Scratched: D Joel Hanley, Taylor Fedun

Injured: C Justin Dowling (upper body), D Stephen Johns (post-traumatic headaches), C Martin Hanzal (back)

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.

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