Chicago Blackhawks (3-0-0, 6 pts) @ Dallas Stars (2-1-0, 4 pts)
7:30 PM CT
American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas
Chicago comes into this game as one of the top offensive teams in the league (though it’s just three games) with an average of 4.7 goals per game.
That hot start can mostly be attributed to the play of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. Hossa is currently tied for the league lead in goals and both he and Kane are tied for second in the league in points. A lot of the burden of stopping them will come down to Kari Lehtonen, but the Dallas defenders need to at least slow down the trio.
The Blackhawks goaltending is suspect as always so the more pressure the Stars can put on Corey Crawford, the better.
The Hawks are pretty healthy. Dan Carcillo (knee) and Steve Montador (concussion) are the only two players expected to be out with injuries. Youngster Brandon Saad looks to be Carcillo’s replacement on the second line.
Possible line combos:
Sharp – Toews – Kane
Saad – Bolland – Hossa
Stalberg – Shaw – Frolik
Bickell – Kruger – Mayers
Keith – Seabrook
Leddy – Hjalmarsson
Oduya – Rozsival
Unfortunately for Dallas, the Jamie Benn saga continues to be at a standstill. There seems to have been no progress in the talks and it doesn’t look like Benn will be around until February at the earliest.
Aside from Benn though, the team saw a breakthrough in the last game as Cody Eakin was moved up to the second line and provided a spark. He assisted on both of Michael Ryder’s goals and was an all around boost to the offense. He’s miles ahead of whatever Tom Wandell brings to the table so Eakin will stay in that role until Benn returns.
Lehtonen gets the start again and is coming off a near shutout of the Red Wings. He’ll be busy again tonight dealing with the Blackhawks explosive forwards so a shutout would be a amazing feat tonight.
Aaron Rome still has the iffy groin and won’t be back in the lineup tonight. The lineup should be the same as the last game.
Eriksson – Roy – Jagr
Whitney – Eakin – Ryder
Morrow – Fiddler – Nystrom
Garbutt – Wandell – Smith
Goligoski – Robidas
Benn – Daley
Larsen – Dillon