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
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
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.