The Chicago Blackhawks are in Texas for a Sunday afternoon meeting with the Dallas Stars. The Blackhawks are holding onto hope that they can get hot late and steal a wildcard in the Western Conference. A recent slump hurt that cause, as the Blackhawks seven of eight games before edging out the Predators at home on Friday night.
The Blackhawks were behind in that contest by a goal for the majority of the game, but Corey Crawford was able to keep them in the game with an insane performance. Crawford turned back the clocks and looked like the guy who helped the Hawks win three Stanley Cups. He has the potential to do that here and there, but Crawford hasn’t been as consistent.
Robin Lehner signed a one-year deal with the Blackhawks to try and get a richer contract than the Islanders were offering, but overall he’s been okay, and lately he has been getting hammered in the crease. Allowing 14 goals in three games isn’t going to get the attention of teams in need of a new goalie that’s for sure. Deciding to sign with the Blackhawks was an interesting move by Lehner.
He had a three-year deal on the table with the Islanders, but opted to take a gamble in Chicago and look for a bigger contract in the upcoming offseason. It was an interesting move going to a team that didn’t have a really good defence. The Islanders provided him much more support on the blueline. His recent struggles has opened the door for Crawford in net. Somebody is going to have to get hot for the Blackhawks, whether it’s Lehner or Crawford.
The fact that they’re last in the Central Division, and still have a chance at a wildcard is a bit fortunate. Chicago owns a record of 27-26-8 and 62 points heading into Sunday. That puts them 6 points behind the Flames for the wildcard. That’s within reach despite not playing like a team who deserve to be playing hockey in the spring. The Blackhawks are in the midst of a brutal part of the schedule. This will be their sixth game on the road in the last eight games, and have three more games on the road after this stop in Dallas.
The Stars are in contention for 1st in the Central Division. They trail the Blues by 4 points, but are more than likely going to the playoffs even if they can’t catch them. The Stars are down by 4 following a 5-1 loss against the Blues in their last outing. It was an uncharacteristically bad performance at home for the Stars, especially on the defensive end. Head below for our free Blackhawks vs. Stars pick.
Chicago Blackhawks vs. Dallas Stars Betting Odds:
Blackhawks vs. Stars Prediction:
The Blues didn’t get the message that the Stars are a tough team to score on at the American Airlines Center. They didn’t have any issues finding goals, as they buried 4 pucks past Ben Bishop on just 13 shots in two periods. Anton Khudobin cleaned up for Bishop in the final period, allowing a goal on 10 shots. Bishop has generally been very dependable at home in Dallas. He has a 2.19 GAA and 0.93 save percentage at home and a 2.87 GAA and 0.91 save percentage on the road. The same goes for Khudobin, who has been sharp at the American Airlines Arena with a 1.43 GAA and 0.941 save percentage.
Dallas is 3rd in the NHL with 2.56 goals against per game. They’ve typically been one of the more physical teams in the league, hence finding rooms to allow the playmakers to work has often been difficult against the Stars. The Blues had no issues countering the Stars in that regard, but I think they’re much better built to deal with the physicality than the Blackhawks are. St. Louis can play that brand of hockey as well if they have to.
Don’t expect the Blackhawks to have as much success as the Blues did offensively in this one. Despite the 5 goals allowed in their most recent outing, Dallas has been solid at home with 2.27 goals against per game at home. That might be scoring just 2.6 goals per game on home ice, but that’s all they need with the defence playing well in Dallas. The Blackhawks have been cold offensively recently, with just 2.5 goals per game in their last ten outings. They’ve scored fewer than 3 goals in regulation in seven of their last ten outings.
The Blackhawks are coming off a 3-0 win against the Stars on November 26. This was a few days after the Stars edged out the Blackhawks in overtime, 2-1. In their last two trips to Dallas, the Blackhawks have scored just 3 goals in total. The UNDER has gone 4-1 in their previous five meetings at American Airlines Center. After the poor showing against the Blues, expect the defence to tighten up for the Stars on Sunday. This looks like a 3-2 final score, which would result in a winner on the UNDER.