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Stars face big test in Blackhawks

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Dallas Stars have defeated some good teams during their current five-game winning streak. To push it to six games they’ll have to beat the best. The Stars take on the Chicago Blackhawks Monday night at United Center, and the last time the two teams met it didn’t go well for the Stars.

That was March 16 at American Airlines Center and the Blackhawks demolished the Stars 8-1.

“I think that we’re going to talk a little bit in our room about the last time we played them,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “It’s going to be there and we have to come out with a gutsy effort. We’ve got to continue to focus on our game.”

The Stars look a lot different than they did a month ago. Gone are players like Jaromir Jagr, Derek Roy and Brenden Morrow, all dealt away prior to the NHL trade deadline. Into the mix are young players like Alex Chiasson, who has scored six goals in his first NHL games.

The Stars’ game looks different as well. It’s a more direct game – a north-south style – and it’s paid dividends for the Stars.

“We’re obviously a much different team now. We were playing a little more risky game back then, and I think we’ve really tightened that up. We’re playing more direct and harder defensively,” said Stars forward Eric Nystrom. “We made some moves and brought in some youth and a little bit of energy. I think our game is much more consistent now. These guys are really buying into the system. They are not as high risk, they are just driving the net and playing simple. The older guys we have here have been preaching that the whole year and we haven’t been able to put it together. Right now, we are finding a way and it feels great.”

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