Stars to Shine Brightly Against Blackhawks

Dallas Stars

Dana Lane

Saturday, December 2, 2017 5:45 PM GMT

Saturday, Dec. 2, 2017 5:45 PM GMT

The Dallas Stars are coming on strong and may have caught a break with Corey Crawford out of the line-up when. The Stars and Blackhawks drop the puck at the American Airlines Center.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Dallas Stars

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Free NHL Pick: Dallas Stars -119Best LIne Offered: at Heritage

Depth is the way to win Stanley Cups, good news for the Dallas Stars who are starting to get some depth scoring out of guys not playing in their top six. Third line center Radek Faksa has four goals, including a hat-trick against Vegas, to go along with an assist in his last five games. Linemate Tyler Pitlick has chipped in with three assist and fourth line center Gemel Smith three points in his last five outings. Not bad for a team whose scoring has mostly been provided by their top three. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov accounted for over half the teams scoring through the Stars first 15 games but over their last 10 that number has fallen to 31%.

Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks put goaltender Corey Crawford in the injured reserve list, forcing Chicago to start Anton Forsberg who has played in just seven games going 1-2-2 with 3.67 goals against average and a save percentage of .904. In Forsberg’s last 10 appearances he has allowed at least three goals eight times and at four goals four times. The loss of Crawford is huge considering how he has held Joel Quenneville’s team together. Chicago has allowed the third most shots per game (34.0) and if they can’t find a way to keep that total to a minimum with Forsberg in net it may be a long day for Chicago bettors. Forsberg has just 16 career games to his credit with a career save percentage of just .889. Now he has to face the Stars who have won three straight games and five of their last six.

Opposing Forsberg will be Ben Bishop who is 12-7 with a .910 save percentage and 2.63 goals against. The Stars are playing better defensively than they have in recent years, evident by 29.2 shots allowed per game number, good for second in the league. In the last 30 days Ken Hitchcock’s team has allowed just 28.15 shots. Hitch’s defensive combinations of Esa Lindell and John Klingberg, Dan Hamhuis and Greg Pateryn, followed by Stephen Johns and Julius Honka, are finally giving the Stars a shot to win every night, even on nights when Ben Bishop hasn’t been sharp.

This is a big week for Dallas who hasn't played well in their division. I don’t think we’ll see anyone on the Stars acting like their belly is full after beating Chicago in overtime considering their record inside the division is a horrible 2-6. They have the chance to turn that around this week with the Stars facing only Central teams over the next four games.

From a trend perspective, Dallas has won 13 of their last 16 home games while Chicago has dropped nine of their last 11 games inside the division which counters the Stars recent trend against the Central.

Something has to give; I’m betting Chicago’s trend continues in the end.

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