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Stars Brace For Another Tough Test Versus Blackhawks

Posted by Don Melrose on 4/14/2013 11:25:21 PM

The Dallas Stars are right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. That is one reason why they probably wish they were facing a different opponent this Monday night. With just five points separating five teams from seventh to 10th in the standings, the Stars are already playing must-win sports betting games heading in to their date with the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday night. Only nine times this season has an opponent taken two points from a date with the first-place Blackhawks, and now Dallas will try to become just the sixth team to do that on the road.

Dallas Stars @ Chicago Blackhawks
Monday April 15, 2013 – 8:00 PM ET
United Center, Chicago, Illinois
NHL Sportsbook Line: Chicago – 150

Surprisingly, the Stars actually have a better road record than home, and did escape with a point in their first meeting with Chicago this season. However, Dallas was blown away in an 8-1 loss when it hosted the Blackhawks back in mid-March, and must find a way to be much better this time around.

NHL Betting Preview: Dallas Stars

That blowout loss to Chicago came at the end of a four-game losing streak that sent the Stars spiraling down the conference standings, and despite winning four of seven since, Dallas is now without starting netminder Kari Lehtonen due to injury. Richard Bachman and Cris Nilstorp will split the goaltending duties until Lehtonen returns, and neither one of those netminders has a save percentage above .900 this season. The Stars turned their attention to the future when they traded Jaromir Jagr to the Boston Bruins for draft picks, and they might not have the weaponry to climb their way back in to a playoff spot.

NHL Betting Preview: Chicago Blackhawks

It is impossible to overlook just how good the Blackhawks have been this season, especially considering the sheer numbers the team has put up. Chicago ranks second in goals per game with an average of just over three, and they lead the league in goals against with an average of 2.0 allowed. The Blackhawks have done that with a goalie rotation that features Corey Crawford and Ray Emery, and they will have a tough choice with who to go with come playoff time. The one area where Chicago could stand to improve on is a power play that ranks 20th in the NHL, which is somewhat of a surprise considering all of its talent, although it hasn’t held the team back so far this year.

NHL Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

The Blackhawks are a team on a mission and are absolutely loaded up front and on defense. Chicago flexed its muscle in its last meeting against the Stars to score an 8-1 win, and it’s hard to imagine so much of a turnaround that Dallas would somehow be able to come back and win this online betting contest. The Stars made the decision to look to the future when they traded Jagr and Derek Roy at the trade deadline, and the injury to Lehtonen pretty much sealed their playoff fate.

NHL Betting Pick: Chicago Blackhawks

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