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Stars-Blackhawks Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars

Saturday March 21, 2015
7:00 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

About the Stars

The Stars (33-28-10) defeated Pittsburgh 2-1 at American Airlines Center Thursday night. The Stars scored two goals early in the second period to take a 2-0 lead, and they held off the Penguins who made a strong push in the third.

“I thought it was a good win by our club,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I thought we really came out well. We had a really strong 40 (minutes) and the third period saw a pretty hard push by them. We have to get by that which I thought we did tonight.”

The win was the fourth in the past five games for the Stars and gave them a 6-2-0 mark in their past eight games. Despite the recent run, the Stars remain eight points out of the final playoff spot in the West with eleven games remaining.

Saturday’s game is the third of a four-game homestand for the Stars.

Injuries: D Trevor Daley (lower body), LW Travis Moen (upper body) and RW Valeri Nichushkin (hip) are out.

About the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks (43-21-6) defeated the New York Rangers 1-0 Wednesday at Madison Square Garden. Scott Darling stopped 25 shots for the shutout, and Brad Richards scored the lone goal, tallying at 7:19 of the third to help beat his former team. It was the fourth straight win for Chicago.

“It’s 82 games and it’s tough to put it all together all the time, but if there is a time to get going and get some confidence in a group, this is it,” Richards said.

Chicago ran its points streak to seven games (6-0-1) with Wednesday’s victory.

Saturday’s game is the second of a four-game road trip for Chicago.

Corey Crawford is expected to start in goal.

Injuries: RW Patrick Kane (clavicle) is out.

Series Notes

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

*The Stars are 1-1-2 (4 points) in the season series.

*The Blackhawks are 3-1-0 (6 points) in the season series.

*Oct. 9, at Dallas: Blackhawks 3, Stars 2 (SO)

*Nov. 16, at Chicago: Blackhawks 6, Stars 2

*Jan. 4, at Chicago: Blackhawks 5, Stars 4 (OT)

*Jan. 18, at Chicago: Stars 6, Blackhawks 3

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars rank second in the league in goal scoring at 3.06 per game.

*The Blackhawks rank second in the league in goals against at 2.21 per game.

*The Blackhawks have allowed eight goals over their past seven games (1.14 per game).

*The Stars have allowed ten goals over the past five games (2.0 per game).

*The Blackhawks are 14-15 (93.3 percent) on the penalty kill over the past seven games.

*The Stars are 24-27 (88.9 percent) on the penalty kill over the past ten games.

*The Stars are 5-13-7 vs. the Central Division.

*Chicago is 14-9-0 vs. the Central.

*Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is 4-1-0 in his past five starts with a 1.80 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

*Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is 6-0-1 in his past seven starts with a 1.13 goals-against average and .964 save percentage.

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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