Chicago Blackhawks’ Eye On The Enemy: Blackout Dallas (Dallas Stars)

Head Coach Ken Hitchcock
Head Coach Ken Hitchcock /

The Chicago Blackhawks open a home-and-home series with the Dallas Stars on Thursday.  We talked to one of the expert fans from Big “D” ahead of time to get some insight on the Stars.

After losing a close game in Nashville to the Predators, 3-2, on Tuesday night, the Blackhawks found themselves tied with their upcoming opponent, the Dallas Stars, for the last two wildcard spots in the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks have played well the last six games (4-1-1), with an opportunity to distance themselves of their closest divisional opponent.  Alex DeBrincat extended his scoring streak to two games with an assist on Tommy Wingels‘ goal in the first period against Nashville.

DeBrincat is now second on the team in scoring with 18 points (10G 8A), trailing only Patrick Kane, who has 25 points (9G 16A).

The Stars are coming off an impressive 3-0 shutout of the Vegas Golden Knights, dealing Vegas their first home loss of the season.  Ahead of the two-game match-up ahead, we talked with fellow FanSided writer and Stars expert, Josh Clark, about the changes that have come to Dallas, how the players are fitting in, and what to expect this upcoming two game set.

Q & A With Josh Clark

Ken Hitchcock has returned back in Dallas for a second tour of duty with the Stars. We know what kind of coach he is and how he brings winning to wherever he goes. What does he bring differently to this team to have them where they are this early in the season?

but quickly generated a spark. He’s putting up a point just about every game and is providing speed and skill on the top line with Jamie Benn.

But it’s not just his play and production; his leadership and energy are just as evident. He’s including a lot of passion in his game and it’s helping carry the team. He’s been a tremendous leader while wearing the A.

Speed, skill, commitment, and an ability to take a game into his hands and carry the team. That’s Radulov summed up so far.

John Klingberg is finally starting to get recognized for the defenseman he is. His game has developed well for him over the years. How has he evolved into the player he is today, and how much more potential does he have being only 25 years old?

Klingberg’s 2016-17 season was one that he and all Stars fans would like to forget. He struggled on offense and looked confused and lost on defense. But last season is a mere nightmare compared to the production he is bringing this year.

Klingberg is playing electric on offense and providing a consistent and shutdown presence on defense. His efforts at even strength and on special teams make him tough to top, especially when he can skate 23+ minutes a night.

He’s been given plenty of opportunities to prove himself since breaking into the league in 2014 and has capitalized on just about all of them. That’s what makes him so effective.

He seems to get better with every game and is always ready to provide a strong offensive and defensive effort. At age 25, the sky seems to be the limit for no. 3.

Ben Bishop was signed to a lengthy contract, 6 years/$29.5million. At age 31, and with Kari Lehtonen, 34, in the last of a 5-year contract, what is the comfort level at the goalie position?

Though it may not seem incredibly calming when you look at the stats, the Stars are confident in

their Goalie pairing. Bishop, as all NHL fans know, is tough to beat in just about every start.

Lehtonen also seems to be adapting well to the backup role and seems prepared whenever his name is called. But perhaps their biggest strength

in the crease is the ability for both goalies to rely on each other.

The two are able to lean on each other, and when one slips up, the other always proves to be there to clean up the mess and hold down the fort. They’ve done it on multiple occasions this year, and it makes the Stars’ goalie position all the more dangerous and unpredictable.

The future may be unexpected, but the Dallas crease is locked and loaded at the current moment.

Lastly, the Stars start a home-and-home series with the Blackhawks. How do you predict these games will go?

It’s definitely going to be a good series. Both teams are struggling to find consistency and the spark they need to get off and running in the season.

They are neck and neck in the standings and have a chance to advance in the ranks. Not to mention that Chicago and Dallas always seem to make things all the more interesting (especially at the United Center).

Give me both teams winning their games at home, with Chicago winning Thursday by a 4-2 score and Dallas winning Saturday in a 4-1 finish.