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Thursday, March 15, 2012
Stars-Blackhawks Preview

By Mark Stepneski


Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars
Friday, March 16
7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (39-27-5) had a six-game winning streak and an 11-game points streak snapped with a 5-2 loss at Winnipeg on Wednesday.

“We beat ourselves, we didn’t play well, we turned pucks over way too easy,” Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “We didn’t play a simple game like we’ve been doing in the past 11, 12 games. We’ve just got to go back to basics.”

Friday’s game against Chicago kicks off a four-game homestand that will see the Stars also play Phoenix, Vancouver and Calgary.

Kari Lehtonen is scheduled to start in goal for the Stars Friday.

Injuries: D Philip Larsen (lower body) is day-to-day. RW Radek Dvorak (ankle) and D Sheldon Souray (lower body) are out.

About the Blackhawks

The Blackhawks (38-25-8) are coming off a 4-3 shootout victory over St. Louis on Tuesday. The Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 deficit in the game and put 46 shots on goal against the defensive-minded Blues.

“That was a fun game,” Chicago forward Patrick Kane said. “A really fun game. … To put up 40-plus shots on a team like that, that is so defensive, says something about our team. What we can do when we play to our potential.”

Chicago improved to 5-2-0 over its last seven games.

Corey Crawford is scheduled to start in goal for the Blackhawks.

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

Series notes

*This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams.

*The Stars are 2-1-0 in the season series and the Blackhawks are 1-2-0.

*October 7, at Dallas: Stars 2, Blackhawks 1
*October 8, at Chicago: Blackhawks 5, Stars 2
*February 23, at Chicago, Stars 3, Blackhawks 1

*If the playoffs started Friday, the Stars and Blackhawks would meet in the first round.

Statistical tidbits

*Over his last nine starts, Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen is 8-0-1 with a 1.29 goals against average, .955 save percentage and three shutouts.

*Lehtonen has posted shutouts in his last two starts and is currently riding a 128:32 shutout streak.

*Dallas is 4-0-1 in its last five home games.

*The Stars are 36-38 (94.7%) on the penalty kill over the last 12 games.

*Chicago is 11-12 (91.7) on the penalty kill over the last six games.

*Stars forward Loui Eriksson has 14 points (7 goals, 7 assists) in his last 11 games.

*Chicago forward Patrick Kane has 8 points (5 goals, 3 assists) over his last 8 games.