The Chicago Blackhawks (3-3-3) will play host to the Dallas Stars (4-4-2) on this All Hallows Eve at the United Center.
The Stars are seeking their third win in four games, but are going to have to overcome a few demons to get there. Former Roger Crozier Saving Grace award winner Marty Turco has had a less than stellar start to the season, posting an uncharacteristic 3-4-2 record, 4.26 goals against average, and a save percentage of .842.
Turco will have to rely on the help of rejuvenated assistant captain Mike Modano, who has found his stride, tallying four goals and six assists in ten games. Perhaps an even bigger relief to the struggling Turco was the sight of veteran defenseman Sergei Zubov, who returned to practice this week after missing the start of the season with hip surgery.
The Stars are going to need all the inspiration they can get to help them get the puck past the Bulin Wall. Khabibulin continues to make impressive arguments as to why he should be the No. 1 in Chicago, with a 2-1-2 record, 2.53 goals against average, .919 save percentage, and one shutout.
The news doesn’t get any better for the Stars as they look around the Hawks' lineup. Patrick Sharp has seemingly found the Midas Touch with his career-best start to a season coming in the form of six goals and six assists. Martin Havlat is defying naysayers with three goals and six assists, and Calder Trophy winner Patrick Kane is continuing where he left off with five goals and four assists on the season so far.
The only one left out of the scoring is new captain Jonathan Toews, who has only managed five assists on the season; but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Toews has found himself in the brink of a dominating year from the first drop of the puck. He nearly duplicated his Goal-of-the-Year-nominated undressing of the Avalanche from last year when he skated through all five Canuck players and nearly tucked one home through Luongo’s five-hole on October 19.
Even NHL odds-makers are catching Hawk-Fever, as they heavily favor the Hawks to skate away with the W tonight. That is something Hawk faithful should take comfort in since the Hawks are 8-2 in their last 10 contests when favored by the powers-that-be.
With the Blackhawks coming off nearly a week's rest, I expect the Stars to jump out to an early 1-0 lead in the first period. From there, the rust will start to fall off and the Hawks will come alive. Expect Toews to break his goal drought, getting an assist from Havlat. Expect Sharp to continue his brilliance as he and linemate Kane will come away with a point as well.
Hawks defeat Stars 5-2.
Sources for the article include:
Chicago Blackhawks Official Website
Dallas Stars Official Website