Hawks, Stars have been adept picking up points
Saturday, 10.17.2009 / 6:30 PM
STARS (2-1-3) at BLACKHAWKS (5-1-1)
Season series --
First of four meetings this season. Chicago not only swept Dallas in 2008-09, but the Blackhawks outscored the Stars by a 20-8 margin. Fourteen different players scored goals, led by Patrick Kane
with four. Cristobal Huet
won both his starts in net.
Big Story --
Two teams adept at picking up points this season square off. Dallas picked up at least one point in each of its first five games prior to a 3-0 loss against Boston on Friday, while Chicago also has just one regulation defeat in its first seven.
Coming off a 6-0 domination of Nashville two nights earlier, Dallas found itself on the opposite side of a shutout score against Boston.
"It was disappointing for sure. It's tough to beat a team as good as Boston is if you don’t have everybody going," coach Marc Crawford said. "We didn't have everybody going tonight for whatever reason. During the course of the season, you're going to have some highs and you're going to have some lows. You're going to have some games where everything goes right and you're going to have some games where not much does. Our game tonight fell in the latter category."
What a week it's been for Chicago, starting off with the biggest comeback in franchise history, a 5-0 deficit turned into a 6-5 overtime win over Calgary. And there was no letdown, as the Hawks followed up by edging Edmonton and Nashville. They hold the early lead in the Central Division.
"I think it has been a good team effort the last little while,'' defenseman Duncan Keith
said after scoring in a 3-1 win over the Predators. "Everyone is contributing. Huet played great. The defense played well. I think the forwards have been working well together.''
Who's Hot --
Keith extended his point streak to four games (2-2-4), while rookie goalie Antti Niemi
won in relief against the Flames and in his start against the Oilers, giving him a 3-0-0 record with a 1.73 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
Brad Richards leads the Stars with nine points. He had at least one in all five games this season and three straight multi-point efforts before Bruins goalie Tim Thomas put those streaks to an end Friday.
Injury Report --
For Dallas, forward Mike Modano hasn't played since the season opener due to cracked ribs and forward Steve Ott is expected to miss another week with a strained oblique.
Chicago forward Ben Eager went on injured reserve with concussion-like symptoms, where he joins forward Marian Hossa
, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and forward Adam Burish, who tore his ACL during the preseason and underwent surgery.
Stat Pack --
Penalty killing has been an Achilles' heel for the Stars this season. The Bruins scored on their lone man advantage Friday, making opponents 8-for-21 against Dallas (61.9 percent), the second-worst in the League. The Blackhawks' power play, meanwhile, ranks ninth at a 26.9 percent conversion rate.
Puck Drop --
This was the Stars' third-longest points streak to begin a season, but it's somewhat deceiving in that they lost three of the games via the shootout. The Boston game showed they have areas of their game in need of improvement, and what better way to measure their progress than a tough road game at the United Center?
-- Brian Hunter, NHL.com