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Stars-Blackhawks Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars
Saturday, November 5
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (4-4-2) are coming off a 6-2 win over St. Louis Thursday that snapped a three-game losing streak. The Stars, who had scored just six goals in their five previous games, found the back of the net against the Blues.

"Anytime you get a big win against a good team like that, it is a big confidence boost for this locker room," said Stars defenseman Stephen Johns, who scored in the game. "In the past week, we really focused in practice on getting pucks to the net, getting bodies to the net. I think when you have that drive, that determination, and keep throwing pucks, good things are going to happen."

Tyler Seguin registered four assists in the game, and Jamie Benn had three helpers for the Stars.

"I thought it was their best game of the year," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "They moved the puck well, and obviously Tyler played a heck of a game for us with Jamie right behind him. Our best players were at the forefront tonight, which was great to see."

Saturday's game wraps up a two-game homestand for the Stars, who will play Chicago again Sunday at United Center.

"We've been going in the right direction the last few games and [Thursday] we looked at it as a big test, playing a division rival," Seguin said. "[We have] an even bigger test with a back-to-back tough matchup with a team like Chicago."

RW Jiri Hudler, who missed Thursday game due to illness, was not at the Stars practice facility Friday. He is not expected to play in the two games against Chicago this weekend.

Injuries: RW Jiri Hudler (illness) is out. RW Patrick Sharp (concussion-like symptoms), C Cody Eakin (knee), C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) and RW Ales Hemsky (hip) are on injured reserve.

About the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks (7-3-1) won their fourth straight game, defeating Colorado, 4-0, at United Center Thursday. Corey Crawford stopped 38 shots and has allowed one goal over the past three games.

"He's so fantastic," Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa said of Crawford. "He's just so calm in the net. He [doesn't] get frustrated. It seems like he's so big in the net. He's awesome."

The Blackhawks have outscored their opponents 15-3 during their four-game streak. Over the past two games, they have a 9-1 edge in goals despite being outshot 72-43.

"[We've been] fortunate. We had some great opportunities we've had to finish, but the other team has had the same," said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. "Sometimes they go in. You don't want to keep playing that way for the long haul. Playing the right way from start to finish is what makes you effective."

The Blackhawks did not practice Friday before traveling to Dallas for Saturday's game.

Injuries: D Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) is out. F Andrew Desjardins (lower body) is on injured reserve.

Season Series

*This is the first of five meetings between the Stars and Blackhawks this season.

*The two teams will finish a home-and-home series Sunday night in Chicago (6 p.m./Fox Sports Southwest Plus)

*The Stars were 4-1-0 (8 points) vs. Chicago last season.

*The Blackhawks were 1-4-0 (2 points) vs. Dallas last season.

*The Stars are 6-2-2 against the Blackhawks over the past two seasons with 3-1-1 records in both Dallas and Chicago.

Statistical Tidbits

*The Stars are 3-3-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Blackhawks are 2-2-0 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars are 3-1-1 at home.

*The Blackhawks are 1-2-0 on the road.

*The Stars are 1-3-1 on the road.

*The Blackhawks are 6-1-1 at home.

*Chicago ranks 2nd in the league in goal scoring at 3.54 per game.

*Dallas ranks 19th in goal scoring at 2.60 per game.

*Chicago is tied for 8th in goals against at 2.46 per game.

*Dallas is tied for 23rd in goals against at 3.10 per game.

*The Blackhawks rank last in the league in penalty killing at 61.5 percent but are 9-9 on the PK in their past three games.

*Through Thursday, Chicago's Artem Anisimov leads the league in scoring with 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists). He is on a nine-game points streak.

*Tyler Seguin is tied for 7th in the league in scoring with 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists).

This story was not subject to approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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