Blackhawks-Stars Preview

With top goaltender Corey Crawford dealing with what they hope

is a minor ailment, the Chicago Blackhawks will try to get past a

short-handed Dallas Stars team that beat them last week.

The Stars will seek to extend their point streak to seven games

when they welcome the Blackhawks to the American Airlines Center on

Tuesday night.

Crawford was forced to leave in the first period of Sunday’s

home game against Florida because of a lower-body injury, but Antti

Raanta proved capable enough to help Chicago (21-6-5) end a

season-high three-game skid.

“I don’t think it’s too serious, but when it’s a goalie, it’s a

little more serious than with other players, because of how

important he is to our team,” coach Joel Quenneville said.

Raanta got some help in the 6-2 victory from one of the

Blackhawks’ most complete offensive performances of the season.

Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane had three points apiece, and Chicago

scored on three of its four power-play opportunities.

The Blackhawks might have to rely on Raanta for the near future

with Nikolai Khabibulin still sidelined with a groin injury. They

recalled Kent Simpson from their AHL affiliate in Rockford, Ill.,

to serve as a backup and also placed forward Bryan Bickell on

injured reserve (lower body).

Dallas (14-9-5) is dealing with injuries of its own and Vernon

Fiddler is the latest. The center is expected to miss at least one

week after suffering an upper-body injury in a 5-1 victory over

Philadelphia on Saturday.

Stephane Robidas is slated to miss at least four months because

of a broken leg, and fellow defenseman Trevor Daley is out for the

next few weeks with an ankle injury.

“Every team deals with it,” coach Lindy Ruff told the team’s

website. “Early on we didn’t deal with a lot and now we’ve dealt

with two pretty serious ones on the backend. It doesn’t look like

Fidds will be a long time, so it’s something we’ve got to get

through, other guys have to elevate their play and fill bigger

holes.”

Dallas managed its lineup well enough to end a six-game skid to

Chicago with a 4-3 road victory last Tuesday. After his club blew a

three-goal lead, Antoine Roussel put the Stars ahead for good by

converting a penalty shot early in the third period.

Chicago has won five straight in Dallas and earned two of those

victories in November. The Blackhawks could extend that streak if

they can continue their recent success on the power play.

Chicago has seven goals in its last 19 opportunities (36.8

percent) with a man advantage and killed off all five penalties

Sunday after allowing opponents to go 5 for 11 (45.5 percent) on

the power play in the previous four games.

The Stars are 2 for 22 on the power play in their last seven

games but are hoping Tyler Seguin can help by building on his third

career hat trick. Seguin also had an assist in Saturday’s win after

being held without a point in five straight games.

Sharp, meanwhile, will try to spark the Blackhawks by adding to

his recent success against Dallas. He has six goals and seven

assists in his last seven matchups and a team-best six points (two

goals, four assists) in this season’s three meetings.

Dallas’ point streak is its longest since an 11-game run Feb.

21-March 13, 2012.