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Stars-Blackhawks Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks

Tuesday, December 3
7:00 p.m.
TV: NBC Sports Network
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (12-9-4) are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers at American Airlines Center on Sunday. The Stars registered a season-high 45 shots on goal, but scored two goals or fewer for the fifth time in the last six games.

“We’ve got to find a way to bear down. I think we’ve been saying that for a few games now,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “We’re putting up a lot of shots each game, we’ve just got to find a way to get greasier goals in the dirty areas. That’s the way you’re going to score goals. It’s obviously not easy, but we’ve got to find a way.”

Tuesday’s game against Chicago will be the third for the Stars in the last three-and-a-half weeks. The Stars have played the Blackhawks well in the previous two games, but have only one point to show for it.

“We need to do better,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We need points, obviously. We’ve played them hard, we’ve played them well but we need to get points. We need wins. It’s as simple as that.”

Center Tyler Seguin, who missed Sunday’s game with concussion-like symptoms, skated prior to the teams’ practice on Monday. He is listed as day-to-day.

“He’s feeling a lot better,” Ruff said. “We’re encouraged that this might be only a couple days.”

Jamie Oleksiak played Sunday in the spot of injured defenseman Stephane Robidas (leg fracture), but Ruff said he would like to get Kevin Connauton into a game soon. It’s not clear if that will be Tuesday.

“I want to play him too,” Ruff said. “He’s been here, he’s worked hard. We’ve got some options now, and we can utilize both guys.”

The Stars placed D Aaron Rome on injured reserve Monday and recalled C Travis Morin from the Texas Stars of the AHL.

Kari Lehtonen is the likely starter in goal for the Stars.

Injuries: C Tyler Seguin (concussion-like symptoms) is day-to-day. D Stephane Robidas (leg) and D Aaron Rome (muscle injury) are out.

About the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks (20-4-4) made it six straight wins with a 5-2 victory at Phoenix Saturday. The Blackhawks wrapped up their seven-game road trip with a 6-1-0 record. The long trip in late November is an annual event for the Blackhawks due to the circus being at the United Center in Chicago.

“It's a long time to be away from home, but we heard it's the best 'Circus Trip' in the history of the Hawks," said Chicago forward Patrick Kane, who had one goal and one assist in the game. "If you told us before the trip that we'd be 6-1, I think we'd all be happy with that. We didn't start off the way we wanted to [a loss to Colorado on Nov. 19] but it definitely finished the way we wanted to.”

The Blackhawks outscored their opposition 22-10 over the final six games of the trip, and they allowed only seven goals over the final five games.

Chicago, which is 9-1-3 at home, plays three of its next four games at the United Center.

Corey Crawford will start in goal for Chicago.

Injuries: F Bryan Bickell (lower body), G Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) and D Mike Kostka (lower body) are out.

Series Notes

*This is the third of five meetings between the Stars and Blackhawks.

*The Stars are 0-1-1 (1 point) in the season series.

*The Blackhawks are 2-0-0 (4 points).

*November 9, Chicago at Dallas: Blackhawks 5, Stars 2

*November 29, Chicago at Dallas: Blackhawks 2, Stars 1 (SO)

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 4-57 (7.0 percent) on the power play over the last 17 games, and were ranked 30th in the league at 10.5 percent through Sunday’s games.

*Chicago is 28th ranked on the penalty kill at 74.7 percent.

*Chicago leads the NHL in goal scoring at 3.50 per game.

*The Stars are 13th in goal scoring at 2.68 per game.

*Chicago has allowed two goals or fewer over its last five games.

*The Stars have scored two goals or fewer in five of its last six games.

*Stars forward Ryan Garbutt has 5 points (3 goals, 2 assists) in the last 3 games.

*Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has 19 points (9 goals, 10 assists) in the last 15 games.

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 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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