Chicago @ Dallas Preview – Season Opener!

Chicago Blackhawks @ Dallas Stars

7:30 PM – October 7, 2011

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

Tonight, the Dallas Stars turn over a new leaf. After last year’s devastating season ending, and playoff denying, loss to the Minnesota Wild, the Stars went through a decision to start fresh. New coach, new system, a hoard of new players, a new mindset and well, while we still don’t have an owner, that should be getting done soon (hopefully).

Up first for the Brad Richardless Dallas Stars are the Chicago Blackhawks, now two years removed from a Stanley Cup. As most Stars fans will remember, we graciously allowed Chicago to make the playoffs last year when we lost that game to the Wild.

After tinkering with the lineup for most of the preseason, coach Glen Gulutzan will be rolling out a first line of Morrow-Ribeiro-Ryder. Morrow and Ribeiro have been on the same line forever now and Ribs and Ryder were linemates back in their Montreal Canadian days.

The second line will be the one that most Stars fans will have their eyes on. That line is the one centered by Jamie Benn and his crew, All-Star Loui Eriksson and youngster Tomas Vincour. Vincour gets this spot as Adam Burish is out for the game and Steve Ott moves down to the third line.

Third line will be the regular season debuts of Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak. They’ll be linemates with Steve Ott for at least one game with Adam Burish out. The fourth line will be the usual Toby Peterson and Tom Wandell, this season anchored by Jake Dowell.

With Nick Grossman and Adam Pardy sidelined by injuries (seriously, aleady?), the defensive pairings will be Goligoski-Robidas, Souray-Daley, and Fistric-Larsen. I can already sense the trouble that’s going to happen tonight. Kari Lehtonen returns as the starting goalie and willl immediately be thrust into the fire. I wouldn’t be surprised if he faced a 40+ shot night. 

The Blackhawks are pretty much the same team as last year with a few veteran additions, most notably Andrew Brunette and league annoyance Daniel Carcillo. Much like Jamie Benn, Patrick Kane is moving from his usual winger position to center the ‘Hawks second line. 18-year-old Brandon Saad takes his spot in the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp. In goal for the ‘Hawks will be Corey Crawford, who went 1-2-0 against the Stars last year.

Dallas will have a stuggle tonight, but a home game and a renewed hope for squad might be able to fish out a win. Besides, we let Chicago into the playoffs last year, they owe us one right?