With just nine games left in the regular season, the Chicago Blackhawks (42-24-7) have only three remaining against Central Division opponents, starting with Tuesday’s matchup versus the Dallas Stars (43-21-9).
The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks are coming off a 3-2 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild (34-28-11) on Sunday and visit them again on March 29 before hosting the St. Louis Blues (42-22-9) on April 7 in the second-to-last game.
Chicago is currently listed as the plus-700 third choice (bet $100 to win $700) to repeat on the odds to win the Stanley Cup at sportsbooks monitored by Odds Shark this season.
The Kings are the plus-600 second choice to win their third Stanley Cup in five years, behind the East’s Washington Capitals (51-15-5), who are the favorites at plus-400. The Blues are plus-1400, and the Wild are plus-4000.
Dallas is looking to defeat Chicago for the fourth time in five meetings this season and the third in a row. All of the previous four games between the teams have been decided by at least two goals, including three by three or more. The Stars have won two straight and five of eight following a four-game skid and losing seven of eight.
The Stars have seen the total go over in five of their last six games and in 11 of their last 15. They have scored at least two goals in 15 consecutive games, according to the Odds Shark NHL Database.
In addition, the over has cashed in the past three meetings and 12 of the previous 16.
The Blackhawks have also dropped five of six in the series dating back to last year and five of six overall for their worst slump in almost a year. They entered last season’s playoffs on a four-game losing streak before going on to win their third Cup in six years.
Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford is still considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury after surrendering every goal in a 5-0 home loss to Los Angeles on March 14. The Blackhawks plan on resting him as much as possible prior to the postseason, with backup Scott Darling starting the last three games.
Darling has gone 1-2 and has allowed five goals during this stretch, stopping 91 shots for a save percentage of .948.