Blackhawks Continue Playoff Push In Dallas
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Last time the Chicago Blackhawks and the Dallas Stars met, things in the Western Conference standings looked much differently.
The Blackhawks will try to create some separation in the Western Conference standings when they visit the Stars, who could be without Loui Eriksson in the final meeting between the teams Thursday night.
The Blackhawks entered their Feb. 11 matchup with Dallas in 11th place in the conference – six points behind the Stars, who sat in a tie for third.
Patrick Kane, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp scored in the first period to put Chicago up 3-0, but Marty Turco, who spent his first nine seasons in the league with the Stars, couldn’t protect the lead as Dallas came back to win 4-3 in a shootout.
Since that defeat, the Blackhawks have gone 10-2-3 to move into sixth place in the West – one spot and two points ahead of the Stars.
Corey Crawford, who has started each of Chicago’s 15 games since Turco played in Dallas last month, made 33 saves in Monday night’s 6-3 win over Pacific Division-leading San Jose.
He has allowed at least three goals in a season-worst five consecutive games.
Kane scored the 100th goal of his career against the Sharks and added an assist. Captain Jonathan Toews notched one of each as well and has 11 goals and 10 assists in his last 13 games.
Marian Hossa scored twice while Sharp recorded a career-best four assists.
“You look around the locker room and there’s a lot of guys who had big games stats-wise, but this time of year that doesn’t really matter,” Sharp told the Blackhawks’ official website. “We’re focusing on those two points and it feels good to get the win.”
Kane has six goals and three assists during a five-game point streak against Dallas.
While the Blackhawks (38-24-8) have enjoyed plenty of success since the last meeting, the Stars (37-25-8) went on to lose a season-worst five straight and nine of 15 overall.
Eriksson, second on the team with 63 points, left Tuesday night’s 6-3 loss to San Jose with an upper-body injury after he was hit in the head on an open-ice check by the Sharks’ Douglas Murray. His status for this game is unknown.
“We’re hopeful that Loui’s going to be all right. He’s not feeling very good right now,” coach Marc Crawford said. “It’s always the next day that you got to look to.
“The league has said that you want to take those hits out of the game, but it ends up being something we can’t control and it’s out of our hands now.”
Dallas led 2-0, but Kari Lehtonen allowed four unanswered goals to fall to 3-5-2 in his last 10 home starts.
Mike Ribeiro has four goals and three assists in his last five contests for Dallas, while Jamie Benn has registered seven goals and four assists in the past eight games.
Lehtonen, who made 23 saves Feb. 11, stopped 35 shots in a 4-2 win at Chicago on Jan. 5.
Dallas fell 5-3 on the road in the first meeting Dec. 8. The Stars haven’t taken the season series since a four-game sweep in 2005-06.
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