Blackhawks-Stars Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated March 15, 2013
With their brief skid in the past, the Chicago Blackhawks are poised to begin another winning streak. After bouncing back from two straight defeats to win the opener of a four-game trip, the Blackhawks look to hand the Dallas Stars a fourth consecutive loss Saturday night. Chicago (22-2-3) didn't seem too concerned while dropping two in a row following its NHL-record 24-game point streak to start the season. Fresh from a three-day break, the Blackhawks regrouped to win 2-1 in a shootout over Columbus on Thursday. "For us to come out and get two points, it's a good confidence boost," Chicago's Patrick Kane told the NHL's official website. "It's good to feel a win again." Kane set up defenseman Johnny Oduya's first goal in 40 games and added the decisive score in the shootout for the league-leading Blackhawks, who hold a four-point lead over surging Anaheim in the Western Conference. "I thought we got back on track (Thursday)," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We started the trip in a positive way like we were hoping to. It's nice to get off that shnied." Chicago had allowed six goals in each of the previous two games but clamped down against the surging Blue Jackets. Corey Crawford stopped 29 shots after yielding 11 goals in his previous three appearances. Kane, who recorded the 400th point of his career, has totaled 20 (nine goals, 11 assists) of his team-leading 31 points on the road. "He has the puck a lot and he's a threat,'' Quenneville said. Kane had two assists to help Chicago rally for a 3-2 overtime win at Dallas on Jan. 24. Jonathan Toews tied it with 5:53 left in the third period and Kane assisted on Marian Hossa's goal 1:41 into overtime. Crawford, 12-2-3 with a 1.84 goals-against average, made 21 saves. Kane has eight goals and seven assists in 11 games at Dallas. The Stars (12-11-3) have been outscored 8-2 during a three-game slide. Even with captain Brenden Morrow back after missing two games with a groin injury, Dallas made little progress despite 34 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Ducks at home Thursday. Dallas failed to score on five breakaways and hit the goal post or crossbar three times. "We had a lot of good chances, just kind of got the wrong side of the post on a few of them,'' said Stars rookie Reilly Smith, who had two of the breakaways and hit the post with another shot. "We have to start burying the puck because these last few games we haven't created enough offensive opportunities to put the puck in the back of the net.'' Ray Whitney scored in his second game after missing 16 with a broken foot for the Stars, who have recorded 66 shots on goal and scored once while losing their last two home games. Center Jamie Benn has missed both contests with a wrist injury. "We hope (he can play Saturday)," coach Glen Gulutzan told the Stars' official website. "It's one day at a time." Whitney had a goal Jan. 24 and has three goals and four assists during a five-game point streak. Dallas' Kari Lehtonen made 38 saves versus Chicago in the first meeting.
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