The Dallas Stars will remain at the Fifth Third Arena on Thursday night to take on the Chicago Blackhawks in a Central Division matchup. This will be the sixth time these teams play against one another as the Blackhawks have a 4-1 series lead. They played against each other on Tuesday where the Blackhawks picked up a 4-2 victory. The Dallas Stars (13-14-10, 36 points) are sixth in the Central Division and are on a two-game losing streak. The Chicago Blackhawks (18-17-5, 41 points) are fifth in the Central Division.
These franchises are very similar on the offensive side of the ice so it will be interesting to see which defense can figure out how to stop the puck from entering the net. Let’s take a deeper dive into the matchup to decide where we should be placing our wagers.
Keeping Solid with PavelskiThe Dallas Stars have been solid in the early stages of this season and one of the reasons is the play of center Joe Pavelski, who has been playing extremely well to begin the season. With more than a handful of players listed on the injury report, there has been a need for Dallas to show off their roster depth as a whole and continue their winning ways. He leads the team in goals, assists and points as he has 34 points (15 goals, 19 assists) this season and should be an early contender for the Conn Smythe Award. In his last game against the Chicago Blackhawks, he finished without scoring a point on five shots during his 18:57 on the ice. Pavelski has been playing like a create-a-player at this point and should be able to add some more points to his statistics by the end of the game.
Anton Khudobin and Jake Oettinger have played inside the goal for the Dallas Stars up to this point of the season. Oettinger has been decent this season as he is 6-5-6 with 2.29 goals percentage and a 91.7 save percentage. He finished his last game against the Chicago Blackhawks by allowing three goals on 27 shots in a loss. The Stars have allowed just 99 goals this season, which is the 10th fewest in the league. The defense has been a tad below league-average when it was shortened in power plays as they allowed 24 goals on 108 attempts (77.78 kill percentage). Chicago is an average offense scoring the puck so this could be a defensive showing for Dallas.
That’s Gotta Be KaneThe Chicago Blackhawks have been doing alright in the early stages of this season and one of the bright spots is the play of right winger Patrick Kane, who has been playing extremely well to begin the season. The team has a handful of players listed on the injury report so it will be interesting to see what their lines look like. Kane is third in the league in points and assists as he has 51 points (14 goals, 37 assists) this season and has recorded four points in his last five games played. In the last game against the Dallas Stars, he finished with a goal and assist while attempting four shots in 22:32 on the ice. Kane has shown the ability to be one of the best players in the league and it’ll be time to see if the Blackhawks can figure out a way to take advantage of one of the stronger goalie situations in the league.
Kevin Lankinen has spent a majority of the season in the net for the Chicago Blackhawks this season. He was in the goal in the last game against the Dallas Stars, he allowed two goals on 27 shots in a loss to bring his record to 14-10-4 this season. The Blackhawks have allowed 124 goals this season, which is 22nd in the league. They have been below-average against opposing power plays as they have killed 83-of-112 (74.11 percent) of them so far this season. The Stars are a struggling offense so this will be a chance for the Blackhawks to show how solid they are defensively.
- Chicago: 81-39 in their last 120 games vs a team with a winning % below .400
- Chicago: 4-1 in their last 5 games as a home underdog
- Dallas: 8-22 in their last 30 games
- Dallas: 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite