They meet again. The Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks play for the third time in 12 days – and for the fourth time in the last month – when they square off tonight at American Airlines Center.
The Stars are 1-1-1 in the season series and the Blackhawks are 2-1-0. Chicago won the first two games, which were both played in Dallas, and the Stars won 4-3 in Chicago last Tuesday despite getting outshot 50-18 in the game.
“We know each other a little bit better. They know what to expect, we know what to expect,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “The game in Chicago got a little bit out of hand for us. I thought they dominated puck possession and territorial play. I thought the games here previously we had a shot at winning, and maybe we had the edge. From both situations both teams learn. We have to make adjustments and be ready to go.”
With Vernon Fiddler (upper body) out for tonight’s game, it appears Dustin Jeffery will be back in the lineup after being a healthy scratch on Saturday.
The Stars are expected to go with the same group of defenseman as last game, meaning that Aaron Rome will be the odd man out. Colton Sceviour is expected to be a healthy scratch as well.
Kari Lehtonen was the first goaltender off the ice this morning, which indicates that he will start in goal tonight.
Antti Raanta will start for the Blackhawks, who announced Tuesday that No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford will miss three weeks with a lower body injury.
Fiddler skates, doing better
Stars center Vernon Fiddler, who is out for tonight’s game against Chicago with an upper body injury, is making progress. He skated this morning and may be back sooner than originally thought.
“He’s doing better than we expected,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I think sometimes these things come around quicker than you anticipate. We want to keep his legs going, and I think there’s a chance later in the week that he could be back in our lineup.”
Fiddler was injured in the first period of Saturday’s game against Philadelphia.
Stars loan Austin Smith to Finland
The Stars have loaned right wing Austin Smith to Assat of the SM-Liiga in Finland. The Dallas native, a fifth round pick in the 2007 NHL draft, is in his second pro season and has played with both the Texas Stars and Idaho Steelheads.
Smith had one goal in four games with Idaho this season. He had no points in ten games with Texas.
Who: Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars
Where: American Airlines Center
When: 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM
Projected Stars lineup
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin –Valeri Nichushkin
Ryan Garbutt – Cody Eakin – Antoine Roussel
Erik Cole – Shawn Horcoff – Alex Chiasson/Colton Sceviour
Ray Whitney – Dustin Jeffrey – Rich Peverley
Alex Goligoski – Brenden Dillon
Jordie Benn – Sergei Gonchar
Kevin Connauton – Jamie Oleksiak
Kari Lehtonen (starter)
Projected Blackhawks lineup
Patrick Sharp – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa
Kris Versteeg – Michal Handzus – Patrick Kane
Brandon Saad – Andrew Shaw – Jeremy Morin
Brandon Bollig – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith
Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy – Michael Kostka
Antti Raanta (starter)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.