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Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Stars-Blackhawks Preview

By Mark Stepneski


Dallas Stars at Chicago Blackhawks
Thursday February 23
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (30-26-4) won 3-0 at Montreal Tuesday behind Kari Lehtonen’s 31-save shutout. Ryan Garbutt scored his first NHL goal and Mike Ribeiro scored a goal in his first regular season game in Montreal since being traded from the Canadiens to Dallas in 2006.

The Stars are two points out of a playoff spot and if they win Thursday, and Calgary loses to Phoenix, the Stars would move into eighth place in the Western Conference.

“What we have to do to be successful is copy what we did in (Tuesday) night’s win,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We have to play as a team; we have to keep things short and hard. That’s what we’ll focus on (Thursday).”

Richard Bachman will start in goal for Dallas.

The Stars placed center Jake Dowell (broken finger) on injured reserve Wednesday and recalled left wing Matt Fraser from the Texas Stars of the AHL.

Injuries: RW Adam Burish (illness) and D Sheldon Souray (foot) are probable. C Jamie Benn (leg) is doubtful. C Jake Dowell (finger) and LW Brenden Morrow (neck/shoulder) are out.

About the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks (33-21-7) won their fourth straight game, defeating Detroit 2-1 at United Center on Tuesday.  Corey Crawford stopped 31 shots and the Blackhawks got goals from Jimmy Hayes and Marcus Kruger.

The Blackhawks were without captain Jonathan Toews, who missed the game with an upper body injury.

"In 82 games, you're going to play without some players on any given night," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. "Losing him was big, but we rallied around each other and all stepped up."

Toews will not play Thursday against the Stars.

Injuries: D Niklas Hjalmarsson (upper body) is probable. C Jonathan Toews (upper body), LW Daniel Carcillo (knee) and D Steve Montador (upper body) are out.

Series notes

*This is third of four meetings between the two teams.

*The two teams haven’t played since they split a back-to-back to open the season.

*Both teams are 1-1-0 in the season series.

*October 7, at Dallas: Stars 2, Blackhawks 1
*October 8, at Chicago: Blackhawks 5, Stars 2

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 5-5-2 since the All-Star break.

*The Blackhawks are 4-6-1 since the break.

*The Stars are 13-14 on the penalty kill over their last four games.

*The Blackhawks are 0-30 on the power over the last 11 games.

*The Blackhawks are 15-16 on the penalty kill over the last six games.

*Chicago has allowed three goals over the last three games.

*Thursday’s game at Chicago and Friday’s game vs. Minnesota in Dallas will be the Stars’ 12th back-to-back set of the season. They are 5-4-2 in first games of back-to-backs this season and 0-9-2 in second games.