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Stars-Blackhawks Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Thursday, February 11

7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (34-15-5) won 4-3 in overtime at Minnesota Tuesday. Kari Lehtonen stopped 36 shots, and John Klingberg scored at 2:39 of overtime for Dallas, which survived a big push from the struggling Wild in the third period to get to extra playing time.

“They are a desperate team. We knew they’d be desperate,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “They started off well, we had a pretty good push in the middle of the game, and they had a pretty strong push at the start of the third. Sometimes you have to survive through a team’s push, and I thought we did… Kari was fantastic. He made really good saves for us that allowed us to get to overtime.”

The win pulled the Stars to within three points of Central Division-leading Chicago. The Stars have three games in hand.

Thursday’s game wraps up a two-game road trip for the Stars, who have won three straight away from home.

Injuries: C Jason Spezza (upper body) is on injured reserve.

The Blackhawks (36-17-4) had a three-game winning streak snapped with a 2-0 loss to San Jose at United Center Tuesday. A key point in the game came late in the first period when Chicago thought it had scored to take a 1-0 lead, but San Jose challenged for goaltender interference and officials agreed. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville didn’t.

“I don't know the rules anymore, or something's changed,” Quenneville told “My understanding - I've played a lot of hockey - I don't know. I think everybody has an interpretation of what's a good goal and what's a bad goal. But I can't believe it.”

Quenneville then threw up his hands and left the press room. It was the second time in the past three games Chicago had a goal waved off for goaltender interference.

The loss snapped a seven-game home winning streak for the Blackhawks and was just their fourth loss in the past 20 games overall (16-4-0).

Chicago was without rookie forward Artemi Panarin, who missed the game due to illness.

Thursday’s game is the second of a four-game homestand for Chicago.

Injuries: F Artemi Panarin (illness) is questionable. F Marcus Kruger (wrist) is on injured reserve.

*This is the third of five meetings between the two teams.

*Both teams are 1-1-0 in the season series.

*Dec. 22, at Dallas: Stars 4, Blackhawks 0

*Feb, 6, at Dallas: Blackhawks 5, Stars 1

*The Stars are 11-5-1 vs. the Central Division.

*The Blackhawks are 11-6-1 vs. the Central Division.

*Chicago leads the NHL with 43 points at home (21-6-1).

*The Stars rank sixth in points on the road with 35 (15-8-5).

*The Stars rank second in goals for (3.22 per game).

*The Blackhawks rank ninth in goals for (2.77 per game).

*The Stars rank 19th in goals against (2.68 per game).

*The Blackhawks rank fourth in goals against (2.28 per game).

*The Stars rank fifth on the power play (21.2 percent).

*The Blackhawks rank ninth on the power play (20.2 percent).

*The Stars rank 20th on the penalty kill (79.8 percent).

*Chicago ranks 11th on the penalty kill (82.2 percent).

*The Stars rank second in shot attempts percent-close game (54.95).

*The Blackhawks rank tenth in shot attempts percent-close game (51.54).

*Chicago’s Patrick Kane leads the NHL in goals (32) and points (76)

*Dallas’ Jamie Benn is tied for third in the NHL in goals (28) and ranks second in points (61).

*Dallas’ Tyler Seguin is tied for third in the league in goals (28) and ranks fourth in points (58).

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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