Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#27 Dallas Stars vs.
#28 Chicago Blackhawks
Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 8:05pm EDT
United Center, Chicago
Written by Chris Kubala

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A pair of teams on the outside looking in at the playoff picture in the Central Division take the ice in the Windy City. The Dallas Stars are on the road as they make the trip to face the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night to close a two-game series. In the opening game of the set, it was the Blackhawks earning a 4-2 victory on home ice Tuesday night to ensure no worse than a split of the series. In the season series, the Blackhawks enter this one having taken two straight and four of the five meetings. Can the Stars bounce back and earn the victory on the road or will Chicago maintain their dominance?

Dallas Stars Trying to Reverse Freefall

Dallas suffered their second straight loss and their fifth defeat in the last seven games as they were knocked off Tuesday night. The Stars entered Wednesday seventh in the Central Division, seven points behind the Predators for the final playoff spot in the division, and 20 back of division-leading Florida. Dallas stands tied for 18th in the league in goals per game as they average 2.68 goals per contest on the year. The Stars stand 9th in goals against as they allow an average of 2.54 goals a night this season. Dallas is sixth when it comes to success on the power play as they convert on 24.6% of their chances with the man advantage this season. The Stars are 21st in penalty killing as they successfully navigate 77.8% of their shorthanded situations on the year.

On Tuesday night, Dallas couldn’t get their offense going and it proved to be their undoing in the Windy City. The Stars were outshot 10-9 in the opening period and trailed 1-0 after 20 minutes of play. In the second period, Dallas was outshot by an 11-10 margin and outscored 2-0 to trail 3-0 after 40 minutes of action. The final period saw the Stars outshoot the Blackhawks 8-7 and outscored them 2-1 to get closer though they didn’t threaten Chicago. Andrew Cogliano got Dallas on the board with his fifth of the year, shorthanded, at 1:29 off an assist from Blake Comeau to make it a 3-1 game. Radek Faksa got the Stars within a goal at 3-2 with his fifth of the year at 13:46 off assists from Esa Lindell and Comeau though that was as close as Dallas would get. They allowed a goal late to put things out of reach. Jake Oettinger made 24 saves for the Stars, who were outshot 28-27, in the loss. Anton Khudobin is expected to get the start in goal for Dallas here.

Chicago Blackhawks Chasing Playoff Spot

Chicago had dropped two straight and four of five but managed to come up with the home victory Tuesday night to kick off this two-game set. The Blackhawks enter this one fifth in the Central Division, 15 points behind the Panthers for the top spot and two points behind the Predators to remain in the playoff picture. Chicago is 16th in scoring offense as they average 2.78 goals per contest this season. The Blackhawks are 20th in the league in goals-against as they allow 3.05 goals per contest on the year. Chicago is fifth in power-play success as they convert 25.2% of their chances with the man advantage on the year. The Blackhawks are 28th in penalty killing as they successfully get through 74.1% of their shorthanded situations this season.

In Tuesday’s game, Chicago started strong and then put the game away after letting their lead get trimmed down to one in the third period. The Blackhawks held a 10-9 edge in shots on goal in the opening period and took a 1-0 lead to the dressing room at the first intermission. Kirby Dach scored his first of the year at 12:13 off assists from Connor Murphy and Patrick Kane to open the scoring. In the second period, the Blackhawks held an 11-10 edge in shots and a 2-0 advantage on the scoreboard to take a 3-0 lead after 40 minutes of play. Dominik Kubalik made it a 2-0 game with his 13th of the year at 9:39 off assists from Adam Boqvist and Vinnie Hinostroza. Alex DeBrincat extended the lead to 3-0 with his 20th of the year at 19:05 with an unassisted marker. In the third period, Chicago was outshot 8-7 and outscored 2-1 but hung on for the win. The Blackhawks gave up a pair of goals to trim their lead to 3-2 before Kane closed the scoring by hitting the empty net at 18:53 for his 14th of the season off assists from David Kampf and DeBrincat. Kevin Lankinen made 25 saves for Chicago, who outshot Dallas 28-27, in the win. He’s expected to get the call between the pipes for this contest.

Best Bets for this Game

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Dallas has really struggled since their quick start to the season and they have racked up a league-high 10 “loser” (OT and shootout defeat) points this season. The Stars would be far worse off without those but they still have plenty of work to do as far as climbing the standings go. Chicago is battling with Nashville for the final playoff spot in the Central Division and that means taking care of business against teams that they are better than in the standings. The Blackhawks have had success with the Stars, taking four of their five meetings this season. Playing at home with the momentum of Tuesday’s win in their pocket, give the edge to Chicago as they get the victory here.

Prediction: Chicago Blackhawks -105

Full-Game Total Pick

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Dallas has seen the over go 16-16-5 in their 37 games this season. In those games, the Stars have seen an average of 5.22 goals a night on the year. That number drops down to just 4.88 goals a night when the Stars are the visiting team this season. Chicago has seen the under go 20-18-2 in their 40 games on the season going into Wednesday’s action. The Blackhawks have seen an average total of 5.83 goals a night but that number rockets up to 6.10 goals a night at the United Center. This season, the teams have combined for three, three, seven, six and six goals in their games. The last three meetings have ended up over the total: look for this one to end up as another 4-2 type of game to edge over the mark.

Prediction: Over 5.5
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Written By Chris Kubala , "Chris Kubala"

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