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Stars-Blackhawks Preview

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

Friday, March 11

7:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports Southwest

Radio: The Ticket 1310 AM/96.7 FM

The Stars (40-20-8) saw a two-game winning streak come to an end with a 4-3 overtime loss at Montreal Tuesday. The Stars went 1-0-1 on a two-game road trip.

“I think it's good to get a point, but we’ve got to find a way to win that game whether it's in overtime or a couple of chances we had in the third,” Stars center Jason Spezza said. “That's a game we should be winning.”

The Stars lost defenseman Jason Demers to a shoulder injury during Tuesday’s game. He is expected to be out at least six weeks. Defensemen John Klingberg and Jordie Benn and right wing Patrick Sharp did not practice Thursday. All three are out with lower-body injuries. They are expected to miss the next two games at least.

Friday’s game will kick off a back-to-back at American Airlines Center that will see the Stars play Chicago (Friday) and St. Louis (Saturday), the two teams that are battling for first place in the Central Division and first overall in the Western Conference.

“It’s a measuring stick obviously when you play top teams in the league and your division, and we’re treating it as such,” said Stars forward Colton Sceviour. “When you get those kinds of games, you definitely seem to get a playoff-like, defensive first style of game, and that’s kind of what we’re expecting.”

Friday’s game is the first of a five-game homestand for Dallas.

Injuries: D John Klingberg (lower body), D Jason Demers (shoulder), D Jordie Benn (lower body) and RW Patrick Sharp (lower body) are out.

The Blackhawks (41-21-6) lost 3-2 in a shootout at St. Louis Wednesday. Chicago rookie Artemi Panarin scored with 1:17 left in regulation to tie the game 2-2 and get Chicago one point.

“When you score with the goalie out [for the extra attacker], you're pretty happy on the road,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville told “It was a great hockey game, both teams had their chances late, shootout, overtime. I mean it was a back-and-forth, game was on the line there throughout.”

The Blackhawks allowed two power-play goals in the game and have allowed 14 power-play goals over the past 12 games.

Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa, who has missed nine games with a leg injury, took part in an optional practice at American Airlines Center Thursday. His status for Friday is up in the air.

Friday’s game wraps up a two-game road trip for Chicago.

Injuries: F Marian Hossa (leg) is day to day. F Marcus Kruger (wrist) is out.

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

*The Stars are 2-1-0 (4 points) in the season series.

*The Blackhawks are 1-2-0 (2 points) in the season series.

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

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

*Feb. 11, at Chicago: Stars 4, Blackhawks 2

*The Stars are 9-6-3 since the All-Star break.

*The Blackhawks are 8-5-2 since the break.

*The Stars are 14-7-2 vs. the Central Division.

*The Blackhawks are 11-9-2 vs. the Central Division.

*The Stars rank second in the league in scoring at 3.18 goals per game.

*Chicago ranks sixth in goal scoring at 2.82 per game.

*The Blackhawks are tied for fifth in goals against at 2.38 per game.

*The Stars rank 23rd in goals against at 2.85 per game.

*The Blackhawks lead the NHL with a .923 save percentage.

*The Stars rank 25th with a .902 save percentage.

*The Blackhawks are 15-32 (46.9 percent) on the power play over the past ten games.

*The Stars are 22-25 (88.0 percent) on the penalty kill over the past eight games.

*The Stars are 7-24 (29.2 percent) on the power play over the past eight games.

*The Blackhawks are 22-36 (61.1 percent) on the penalty kill over the past 12 games.

*Stars center Jason Spezza has scored seven goals in the past eight games.

*Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has points in five straight games (three goals, two assists).

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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