BLACKHAWKS (10-2-4) at STARS (8-6-2)
TV: WGN, FS-SW+
Last 10: Chicago 6-1-3; Dallas 5-3-2
Season series: This will be the first of five meetings between the Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars, and first of three at American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks won all three games last season, including once in overtime.
Big story: Dallas has won three straight games and needed extra time to decide its past four, with two ending in OT and two in shootouts. Each team has gone past regulation six times, with each needing four shootouts to decide games. This will be the front end of the fourth back-to-back on the schedule for Chicago.
Blackhawks: Chicago routed the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 on Wednesday at United Center and controlled the game for most of the last two periods. If the Blackhawks are experiencing any negative effects from a Stanley Cup hangover, they're barely detectable.
They're battling neck-and-neck for the lead in the Central Division with the Colorado Avalanche and still have a couple areas they're shoring up. Their success has also extended to their first three back-to-backs, sweeping two before splitting the third last weekend.
"Our first game, we usually play pretty good and it's been nice playing on the road, then coming back home and having the home ice [for the second game] with the crowd behind us," forward Bryan Bickell said. "Sometimes I feel better the second game. I know Dallas has been on a good run on the road and now they're coming back home, so it should be an interesting game."
Stars: Dallas has played five of its past six games on the road and is 4-1-1 in that span. This will be a brief stopover on home ice before hitting the road again to play four of the next five games.
On Thursday, the Stars trailed 2-0 in the final minute of the second period at Joe Louis Arena but rallied to beat the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 in overtime on a shot through traffic by Rich Peverley. Dallas sent the game to OT with a power-play goal by Cody Eakin with 1:10 left in regulation, the Stars' first goal during a man-advantage in five games.
"We know how important it is, anytime you get a power play it can change the game," Eakin told the team website. "I thought we did good and had some chances. We shot the puck and that was the one that went in, so it was a good time for it."
Who's hot: Peverley has decided the previous two games for the Stars; he got the shootout winner against his former team, the Boston Bruins, before beating Detroit in OT. … Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith has assists in seven of the past eight games, including five straight.
Injury report: The Stars are not reporting any current injuries. … The Blackhawks are without defensemanMichael Kostka (foot) and forwardsBrad Mills (lower body) and Michal Handzus (upper body).
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