Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks Face Dallas Stars on Teuvo Tuesday


Dec 10, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) skates against the Dallas Stars during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Sharp scores two goals in the second period. The Blackhawks defeated the Stars 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Hopefully Teuvo Teravainen really does make his debut, tonight, against the Dallas Stars, as this title would look awfully dumb, if he doesn’t.  Teravainen should also start for unselfish reasons, as the Chicago Blackhawks seem to really need an offensive shot in the arm.

Let’s take a look at how the Blackhawks and Stars matchup.

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Statistically, the Blackhawks have an advantage, in every listed category.  However, the Stars are not a bad team, as they are very solid, in most areas, but the Blackhawks have just been THAT good, this season.  The Hawks are the best team, in the NHL, offensively, while the Stars are in the bottom third, of the league defensively.  Dallas is above average, offensively, while the Hawks have steadily become a top-10 defensive team.

When it comes to the Power Play, the Hawks are streaky, but overall, an elite team, with the man-advantage, and they will be up against a less than stellar Stars’ Penalty Kill.  Dallas has struggled, on the Power Play, and will be matched up with an overall, underwhelming, but improving Hawks’ Penalty Kill.

Puck-Possession favors the Hawks, as they are elite in both Faceoff Percentage and Corsi For Percentage, while the Stars are middle of the road, in Faceoff Percentage, and above average, in Corsi For Percentage.

The Stars are fighting for their playoff lives, every night, and are currently 1-point out of the final Wild Card position, in the Western Conference, currently held by the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Stars offense is propelled by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin.  Beyond Seguin and Benn, the Dallas offense is spread out and thin.  Alex Goligoski has chipped in 33 points, from the blueline, this season, and is the Stars’ leading scorer, among players not named Benn or Seguin.  Rookie Valeri Nichushkin has had a fine offensive season on the wing, for the Stars, this season.

In net, will either be Kari Lehtonen or Tim Thomas.  Lehtonen appeared to be lost for the season, but made his return to the Stars’ crease, recently, and will be vital, for Dallas’ playoff run.  Thomas, was acquired at the Trade Deadline, as an insurance policy, in net, and has been very useful, filling in for the injured Lehtonen.

The Blackhawks need to rebound, from what was arguably their ugliest loss, of the season, on Sunday, as the Nashville Predators shut out, the defending Stanley Cup Champions, by a score of 2-0.  The Hawks currently have a 3-point advantage, over the Colorado Avalanche, for the all-important 2nd place in the Central Division, which also means home-ice advantage, in the 1st round of the playoffs.

The Hawks are also currently adjusting to life without superstar, Patrick Kane, who will be out, until the playoffs begin.  Having Teravainen, in the lineup, will fill some of the need, for a playmaker, due to Kane’s absence.  Jonathan Toews has picked up his game, since the Olympics.  Jeremy Morin continues his quest to impress, the Hawks’ caching staff, as he has been making the most, of his recent call-up.  Patrick Sharp has 8 points, in 4 previous games, against the Stars, this season.

In net, for the Blackhawks, will likely be Corey Crawford.  Crawford has had a very good season, as he has put up a .919 Save Percentage, in 52 games played, this season.

Will it be Teuvo time?  Most likely and most hopefully, as it is Teuvo Tuesday, regardless, and regardless of what anyone says, the Blackhawks could use an offensive boost, right now, if they want to beat the playoff hungry Stars.  Teuvo is exactly what the Hawks could use, right now, to help the team move on, from the most recent Nashville loss, and to help them secure home-ice advantage, in the 1st round, of the playoffs.

Go Hawks!