The first game home, after an extended road trip, especially a successful one, can be misleading. After a successful road trip, finally being on home-ice again seems like it’s only getting easier, but nope. The first game home is always an easy one for a team to look beyond, as the Chicago Blackhawks often have, when returning from the annual circus trip. Tonight, it will be the Dallas Stars, visiting the United Center, hoping that the Blackhawks have yet to unpack their A-game.[table “19” not found /]
Just like on Friday night, the Stars are statistically a “poor man’s version” of the Blackhawks, with the exception of their special teams play. It was also pointed out, on Friday, that the similarities in areas of success/short comings, can lead to a very tightly contested hockey game. The stats make sense, as the Blackhawks are the cream of the crop, of the Central Division, the Stars are an up and coming team, looking to climb it’s way up to the top, as members of the same division.
The Stars may be an even poorer version of the Blackhawks, if 1st year Star, and top point producer, Tyler Seguin is unable to play. Dallas is still trying to adjust to life after defensman, Stephane Robidas, who suffered a broken leg, against the Hawks, on Friday night, and is expected to miss around 4 months. Jamie Benn is still healthy, however, and playing some of his best hockey.
In net, the Stars still have underrated goaltender, Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen has put up another fine season, thus far, and the Stars’ chances to climb up, the Central Division rest firmly on the shoulders of his success.
The Blackhawks have everything going their way, except for history, when it comes to first games back, following the circus trip. However, it had to happen some time, and coming home is always a good thing. Duncan Keith is coming off a week, in which he was named a top-3 star, in the NHL. Patrick Kane was electric, during the road trip. There’s hardly anything going wrong with this team, as everyone is stepping into their roles, and executing to success, or more success than expected, it seems.
Corey Crawford is really excelling in the work horse role, but the breather he got, on the road trip, clearly was much needed, as it helped his performance greatly.
This will be an interesting matchup, as a banged up Stars team, that is very familiar, with the Blackhawks look to spoil, the Hawks’ homecoming, after losing to them, in lengthy shootout, on Friday night. The Blackhawks are healthy, and flying high, but the return home game, has been a tricky one, for this team. It should be a great game!