NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Monday, April 15th
(All times Eastern)
Dallas Stars (21-17-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (32-5-4), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The hard-charging Dallas Stars will shoot for a sixth
straight victory when they visit the playoff-bound Chicago Blackhawks for
Monday's clash at United Center.
Although Dallas sold off some of its top talent before this season's trade
deadline -- dealing away both Jaromir Jagr and Brenden Morrow -- the club is
mounting a late-season surge that could land the Stars a playoff spot.
The Stars won their fifth straight game Saturday night against visiting San
Jose. The hot streak has pushed Dallas into a tie with Columbus for ninth
place in the Western Conference and leaves the Stars two points out of a
Minnesota and Detroit are currently tied for the West's last two postseason
berths. The Wild play Monday in Calgary, while Detroit has the night off. The
Blue Jackets also are in action against Colorado.
Rookie forward Alex Chiasson, who was only recalled after Jagr and Morrow were
traded, has fueled the Stars' late run, scoring six goals over his first six
Chiasson, a second-round draft pick by the Stars in 2009, scored once to help
the Stars record Saturday's 2-1 win over the Sharks. Eric Nystrom also scored
and Richard Bachman posted 31 saves to pick up the win.
"At the trade deadline we had two choices," said Bachman. "One was to just
give in and go through the motions. Or we could prove people wrong."
Bachman has earned the last three wins for Dallas after No. 1 netminder Kari
Lehtonen went down with a groin injury on Tuesday. Lehtonen has resumed
skating and he could return on Monday.
Dallas last won six in a row from March 2-13 of last season. The Stars have
also won three straight on the road and are 11-8-1 as the visiting team in
2013. Beginning with Monday's tilt, the Stars will play four of their next
five on the road before closing the regular season on a two-game homestand.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks, who have already clinched the Central Division
title, will try to complete a season sweep of the Stars on Monday.
Chicago notched an overtime win in Dallas on Jan. 24 and then posted another
road victory, an 8-1 rout on March 16, to push its winning streak in this
series to three games. The Stars have won two of their last three in Chicago
and this encounter is Dallas' only scheduled trip to the Windy City this
The Blackhawks won their fifth straight game on Sunday, notching a 2-0 win at
St. Louis behind a 30-save shutout performance from Corey Crawford. It was the
third shutout of the season for Crawford and eighth of his career.
"This team is a good test for us for playoff-style hockey. They play hard.
They're physical," Crawford said. "It just seems like they're all over the
ice, but we didn't play into their game. We let them do their thing."
Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa scored for Chicago, which is nine points ahead
of Anaheim for the top seed in the West and four points in front of Pittsburgh
for the NHL lead.
Chicago is kicking off a three-game homestand on Monday and has a superb
15-3-2 record at the United Center this year. After this home stint, the
Blackhawks will finish their regular season by playing three of four on the
04/15 10:52:12 ET