Shooting for the Stars
The Chicago Blackhawks welcome the Dallas Stars to the United Center Monday night in the third and final showdown of the regular season between the Western Conference foes.
In the first two games between these contenders, Chicago has won in Dallas and outscored the Stars 11 – 3, including an 8 – 1 routing and a 3 – 2 OT thriller just four weeks ago. Both Crawford and Lehtonen started in net for their respective teams, with Richard Bachman taking over in that lopsided game in March.
Dallas is currently riding a 5-game win streak and is just two points out of 8th place in the Western Conference, currently held by Detroit with 47 points. The Stars are jockeying for that final position in 8th place to avoid missing the playoffs for the 5th consecutive season. A win tonight would knock Detroit out of 8th place by way of ROW (Regulation & Overtime Wins) points.
Chicago is also riding a 5-game win streak but has significantly less playoff worries – it became the first team to clinch a playoff berth a week ago against Nashville and it clinched the Central Division title on Sunday after shutting out the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks competition remains in its race for the Jennings Trophy, awarded to the team that allows the fewest goals at the end of the season. Just behind Chicago’s 85 goals allowed (GA) is Ottawa with 89 GA and Boston with 91 GA.
Reported injuries for tonight’s game include Patrick Sharp, who also missed Sunday’s game against St. Louis due to an upper-body injury. Sharp only returned for two games after missing nearly a month with an upper-body injury. Kari Lehtonen is still listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury and has not been confirmed nor denied to play tonight.