The Blackhawks come into tonight's game having beaten 13 out of their 14 Western Conference opponents. Tonight, they face the only one they haven't, the Dallas Stars.
Goaltending will play a big role in deciding tonight's outcome. The Stars are note 3GR violators, having been victorious in two relatively high-scoring contests.
In a predictable move, Coach Q has inserted Antti Niemi between the pipes, after watching Cristobal Huet's last five periods against the Stars include 8 goals, roughly 7 of them of the soft variety. This will be Niemi's second time making consecutive starts, coming off a brilliant performance in St. Louis, where he shut out the home squad for 58 minutes and made 34 saves en route to his 14th win. If you recall, the last time he had back to back starts he lasted just one period in Vancouver and looked thoroughly overmatched and decidedly uncomfortable. Look for him to try to rebound and show that he has the ability to play as more than just a backup. He was the hard luck loser in Dallas last time around, allowing just one goal in a period of relief, which proved to be the game winner.
Look for Patrick Kane to step up tonight as well, as his production against the Stars is always solid. He has two goals in two games this season, and 10 points in his last six against Dallas.
-Ben Eager will sit out again with an undisclosed injury, saving Joel Quenneville more difficult decisions about his fourth line.
-Steve Ott's appendix will not play tonight, nor will Ott himself. The former was removed from the latter on Monday.
-Mike Ribeiro is likely to return tonight for Dallas after catching a stick blade in the throat just over a month ago.
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Written by Adam Seidman
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