Series (Game 1 of 4)

Series tied 2-2

Game 1: Friday, October 20th
Game 2: Wednesday, November 29th
Game 3: Tuesday, December 26th
Game 4: Sunday, April 8th

Blackhawks 4

(4-3-0, 8 pts)

Stars 5

(6-1-0, 12 pts)

8:30 PM ET, October 20, 2006

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 T
CHI 2 1 14
DAL 1 0 45

N. Hagman (Stars - LW): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

J. Lehtinen (Stars - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 1

R. Vrbata (Blackhawks - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 3

Chicago (4-2-0) at Dallas (5-1-0) 8:30 pm EDT

Chicago (4-2-0) at Dallas (5-1-0) 8:30 pm EDT

DALLAS (Ticker) - The Chicago Blackhawks try to continue their surprising start when they visit the Dallas Stars, who also have commenced their campaign in fine fashion, on Friday.

Chicago comes off two straight victories, the latest a tight 2-1 triumph over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday. Bryan Smolinski scored the game-winning goal just two minutes into the third period to lift the Blackhawks, who received 28 saves from Nikolai Khabibulin.

The Blackhawks have failed to qualify for the postseason in seven of the last eight seasons, and many do not have high expectations of them again this campaign. However, Chicago already has a chance to match last season's high of three straight victories.

A big reason for Chicago's improvement is goal production. The Blackhawks have scored 25 goals already after scoring only 209 last season, the second-lowest total in the NHL.

Chicago's power play started hot but has cooled off lately. Despite the slowdown, the Blackhawks still are a respectable 7-for-36 (19.4 percent).

The Stars return home after a solid West Coast road trip in which they went 3-1-0. However, Dallas ended the trip on a sour note when it dropped a 2-0 decision to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Dallas outshot San Jose, 32-23, but failed to convert any of their five power-play opportunities.