The undefeated Chicago Blackhawks are back on the road to defend their perfect season start. For the first time in 40 years, the Hawks have a 3 – 0 – 0 record, and the Dallas Stars are gearing up to try and take that streak away.
But it won’t be easy for the Stars to shine on Thursday night; the Blackhawks are coming out of three straight wins against the defending Stanley Cup Champion LA Kings, defending Pacific Division Phoenix Coyotes, and defending Central Division St. Louis Blues. Not to say that Dallas hasn’t been taking care of business. The Stars opened their season with an in-house 4-3 victory over Phoenix the day before the Coyotes took a 6-4 beating from the Hawks.
Where the Blackhawks need to capitalize on Thursday is in their offensive speed. Marian Hossa leads the league in goals (4) and Patrick Kane is serious about racking up the points this season as well. So far, Chicago trails Dallas slightly in opportunities, but doubles their efforts in goals per game.
The Stars have admitted to being a little more lethargic on the ice than they would like, and there is still a lot of play within lines for head coach Glen Gulutzan. Meanwhile the Blackhawks are rolling deep with four solid lines, allowing them to keep up an aggressive pace against less rested opponents.
It seems simple, but if Chicago can score early and often, using the speed and excellent passing they have demonstrated in the past week, Dallas’ only hope of topping the Hawks is heavy offensive net presence on Corey Crawford.
This is the first of three meetings between Chicago and Dallas this season, the two teams met four times last year, splitting the victories 50/50.
|March 16, 2012||CHI @ DAL||CHI, 4 – 1|
|February 23, 2012||DAL @ CHI||DAL, 3 – 1|
|October 8. 2011||DAL @ CHI||CHI, 5 – 2|
|October 7, 2011||CHI @ DAL||DAL, 2 – 1|
Players to watch when the puck drops from Chicago are obviously Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane. Dallas’ well-seasoned Jaromir Jagr made his debut to the team Saturday with 2 goals on Phoenix, and RW Michael Ryder notched two on the board against Detriot. High opportunity forwards could bring this matchup down to the boys between the pipes.
Puck drops at 7:30pm CT (8:30 ET) on CSN Chicago and WGN 720.
Injury Report: Daniel Carcillo remains out indefinitely for the Chicago with a lower body injury. Stars’ defenseman Aaron Rome who has been out of action due to a strained groin (ouch) will most likely return to the line Thursday night.
(This post appeared previously on thecheckingline.com)