The Dallas Stars try to bounce back from two straight losses as they travel to Chicago to face the Blackhawks on the second night of a back-to-back.
Stars Continue to Miss Golden Opportunities
Dallas lost a 3-1 contest to the New Jersey Devils on home ice on Saturday afternoon. They held a 1-0 lead into the third period but saw NJ tally three in the frame including two in the final 70 seconds to seal the victory.
“We didn’t look like a team that wanted to make the playoffs, I’ll tell you that,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “Let’s be honest, what do our eyes tell us? There wasn’t near enough desperation in our game. It’s as simple as that.”
With the loss, the Stars miss out on yet another opportunity to gain points in a tight Western Conference playoff race leaving them tied with the Vegas Golden Knights for the final spot. Coming into the game, NJ had the worst road record in the league, had lost five straight, and was playing without their top player in Jack Hughes. Unfortunately, this was not the first time this situation has occurred for this team and the Stars hope that it does not come back to haunt them at the end of the season.
“Every team in this league is good,” Ryan Suter said. “The teams in the playoffs are obviously there for a reason and the teams that are out, guys on those teams are playing for jobs next year, for pride. There’s no easy game. When you’re out of the playoffs, you go out there and try to spoil a team’s season, and we have to know that, have to make sure we’re prepared for [Sunday] because they’re going to come hard.”
Now, facing another team that will not make the playoffs in the Hawks, the Stars will need to find their legs and leave the Windy City with two points.
The Stars are 2-0-0 against the Hawks this season, with the latest win coming in scoreless shootout fashion. This will be the third and final meeting of the season between the two clubs, so Dallas has the chance to sweep their former bitter rivals.
“We’ve got to. We have no choice,” Bowness said of bouncing back against Chicago on Sunday. “If we play like that, we’re going home in three weeks. It’s as simple as that. That’s what I told them after the game, `You play like that, three weeks from today, we’re going home.’ You can say all the right things all the time, but it’s not what you say. It’s what you accept. It’s what you do.”
Hawks Scouting Report
Chicago has been out of the playoff hunt for quite some time. Although they still have some of their big names in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, they are in the midst of a rebuild after winning three championships in five seasons between 2010 and 2015. Still, they are not a team to sleep on and certainly have some guys that can cause issues for a Stars team that is not exactly dominant on the defensive end right now. Kane continues to defy age and leads the way with 80 points while the plethora of youngsters featuring Kirby Dach, Alex DeBrincat, Dominik Kubalik, and Dylan Strome round out most of their offense.
The Hawks, like the Devils, are in the middle of a winless streak. With a 2-0 loss to the Seattle Kraken on Thursday, Chicago was shut out for the eighth time this season and watched their losing streak extend to six games.
“It’s unacceptable,” Alex DeBrincat said, with Chicago’s winless streak reaching six straight games. “Even though we’re out of the playoffs, we want to win games. It sucks losing. It’s no fun. I think we’re battling hard for two of three periods in those games, but it’s not enough. We’ve got to find a way to score some goals and play a full 60. It’s been our downfall most of the year and it’s why we’re in the position we are.”
Dallas traveled to Chicago following their loss to NJ on Saturday night so they will not skate prior to the game.
- Denis Gurianov was a healthy scratch on Saturday and will likely draw into the lineup for some fresh legs
- Scott Wedgewood appears the most likely starter in net although Rick Bowness stated that “it was an option” for Jake Oettinger to play both games since Saturday’s game was a matinee affair. Still, the kid was not exactly sparkling against NJ, so expect to see Wedgewood in the crease on Sunday.
He Said It
“The other lines were all good for two games,” Bowness said of the decision to scratch Gurianov, who was returning from an injury. “All of a sudden, you got a stinker, and it’s easy to second guess it now. But the last two games, the lines have all been good. They have been. And [Saturday], they were all bad.”