The Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars meet for the third time this season on Thursday night. They played a home-and-home at the end of November, which went the Stars way on both occasions, a 4-3 win in overtime and 3-2 in a shootout. The Blackhawks let the first one get away from them at home, and then they lost a coinflip game in Dallas. They went on to lose a couple more following that game with losses to the Kings and Capitals.
It took their losing streak to five games. However, the Hawks have flipped the script around and are currently on a five-game winning streak. Despite what has been a relatively slow start, the Hawks are well and alive with a record of 17-11-4. They were just looking bored and disinterested. For a team who has had as much success as them, it might be easy to get bored for the first two months of a season.
The Blackhawks game plan during that time was go out there and hope Corey Crawford plays well. If not, it was almost certainly going to be a losing effort. And when Crawford was out with injury, it was pray and hope Forsberg didn’t get embarrassed. Their offense was looking ugly, with the only way they had a chance was hold opposing teams to 2 or less goals every night.
There has been some good news for the Blackhawks lately, though, because their offense is starting to show signs of life. Most importantly, Crawford is back in the starting lineup and playing great hockey. The Blackhawks are loading with talent on their blue line. Youngsters Jordan Oesterle and Michal Kempny have provided a lift while Jan Rutta and Cody Franson were on the mend. Rutta and Franson are set to come back, but Oesterle and Kempny have been playing so well that it’s going to be tough to remove them from the starting lineup. The Stars have had the Blackhawks number lately, though. We’ll see if it continues tonight. Head below for our free Blackhawks vs. Stars pick for Thursday night.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Dallas Stars Pick
The Hawks were getting some defence earlier in the season, but absolutely no offensive production. They’ve been getting both during their five-game winning streak. The Blackhawks averaged 3.6 goals per game, while allowing 1.4 per game. Crawford has improved his GAA to 2.11 with a 0.935 save percentage. The Stars’ defence has been getting abused lately, as they’ve allowed an average of 3.10 goals per game in their last ten. They must be careful not to revert to their old ways of being soft as toilet paper on defence. Notably, Ben Bishop has to keep it together. He’s allowed 12 goals in his last three starts.
If Bishop starts to slip, the Stars are for the lack of a better word, screwed. Since beating the Blackhawks back-to-back, the Stars have been slipping overall. They’ve won just three of nine games and have lost three in a row. Before beating the Hawks in two straight, they had a tough time against Chicago. The Blackhawks beat the Stars in five straight. A hot Hawks team at -105 against the struggling Stars? I think Chicago does enough to avoid losing three in a row to Dallas on Thursday night. It should give them an extra bit of motivation.
PICK: BLACKHAWKS (-105)