The Dallas Stars have appeared to find their footing after a slow start to the season and are making a move up the Central Division standings. Winners of three games in a row and five of their last six, the resurgent Stars will look to complete a sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night in the back end of a home-and-home series.
Mattias Janmark’s second goal of the game in the first minute of overtime lifted Dallas to a 4-3 victory Thursday — a setback that cost the Blackhawks more than one point in the standings. Chicago placed starting netminder Corey Crawford, who made 31 saves in the loss, on injured reserve Friday with an undisclosed injury. Crawford is expected to be sidelined for at least seven days, the Chicago Sun-Times reported, citing a source. The Stars halted a five-game losing streak in the series with Thursday’s win, but they have dropped 10 of their last 13 against the Blackhawks in Dallas.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Chicago, FSN Southwest (Dallas), NHL.TV
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (12-9-4): Crawford, who has registered at least 32 wins in each of the past four seasons and guided Chicago to a pair of Stanley Cup championships, was listed as week-to-week, although the Sun-Times reported the injury was not considered long-term. “He’s been our best player all year, no doubt,” star forward Patrick Kane said. “Very consistent. He’s been rock solid back there all year. He’s been awesome.” Anton Forsberg, 1-2-2 with a 3.67 goals-against average, is expected to start Saturday.
ABOUT THE STARS (14-10-1): Dallas had won only three of 12 away from home before sweeping Vegas and Chicago on its two-game trek and now returns. “I just think you build your game through adversity,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “You’ve got to go through tough times. You don’t build it through the good times, you build it through the tough times.” That sentiment certainly applies to Janmark, who missed all of last season due to a knee issue after scoring 15 goals and collecting 14 assists as a rookie in 2015-16.
1. Blackhawks rookie F Alex DeBrincat scored against Dallas, his eighth goal in the last nine games.
2. Stars F Radek Faksa has four goals and an assist in the past two games.
3. Chicago recalled G J.F. Berube from Rockford of the American Hockey League.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Stars 3