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Stars-Blackhawks Preview

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks
Thursday, March 23
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest Plus
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (29-33-10) defeated San Jose, 1-0, at American Airlines Center Monday night. Kari Lehtonen stopped 30 shots for his second shutout of the season, and Curtis McKenzie scored the lone goal for Dallas.

"I thought the team played great," McKenzie said. "You know it's probably not the most exciting game for a lot of our players, but I thought we were doing the right thing- coming back hard, protecting our slot, and we went forward from there. It was a great game for the team."

Stars center Jason Spezza (back) skated Wednesday but did not practice. He is doubtful for Thursday's game.

The Stars play six of their next seven games on the road to finish off a stretch of 11 of 15 games away from home.

Injuries: Jason Spezza (back) is doubtful. LW Antoine Roussel (hand) is out. C/LW Mattias Janmark (knee) is on injured reserve.

About the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks (47-20-6) had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 5-4 overtime loss to Vancouver Tuesday night. The Blackhawks rallied from a 4-1 deficit to force extra playing time, but Canucks forward Daniel Sedin scored 2:12 into overtime to give Vancouver the second point.

"We definitely showed some character," said Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. "But at the same time, we've got to find a way to get a little more energy from the start. It's been the same thing for these two games at home. We've got one more against Dallas before we go on the road, and we have to have a better start."

Chicago outshot Vancouver 44-15 in the game. The one point gave Chicago 100 for the season. The Blackhawks have hit the 100-point mark four straight seasons.

The Blackhawks are 17-3-1 in their past 21 games.

Thursday concludes a three-game homestand for Chicago.

Injuries: F Artem Anisimov (lower body) is day to day.

Season Series

*This is the fifth and final meeting of the season between the Stars and Blackhawks.

*The Stars are 0-3-1 in the season series.

*Nov. 5, at Dallas: Blackhawks 3, Stars 2
*Nov. 6, at Chicago: Blackhawks 4, Stars 3 (OT)
*Dec. 11, at Chicago: Blackhawks 3, Stars 1
*Feb. 4, at Dallas: Blackhawks 5, Stars 3

Statistical Tidbits

*The Stars are 9-13-0 since the All-Star break.

*The Blackhawks are 17-4-1 since the break.

*The Stars are 10-21-4 on the road.

*The Blackhawks are 24-9-5 at home.

*The Stars are 8-14-4 vs. the Central Division.

*The Blackhawks are 18-8-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Blackhawks rank seventh in goal scoring (3.00 per game) and eighth in goals against (2.49 per game).

*The Stars rank 15th in goal scoring (2.72 per game) and 29th in goals against (3.22 per game).

*Dallas' Devin Shore (11 goals, 18 assists) and Chicago's Ryan Hartman (18 goals, 11 assists) are tied for 13th in points among rookies with 29. 

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 DallasStars.com 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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