North Dallas Thirty-Nine - Hawks @ Stars Preview, Thread, Chili Cook-Off

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GAMETIME: 7pm
TV/RADIO:  Versus, WGN RADIO
Texan Book Of The Dead:  Defending Big D


Oh, if only this game had come one date later on the schedule, it would have worked out so deliciously for the headline. But, since I'm bereft of other ideas, this one will have to do.

So the Hawks strut into the American Airlines Saloon having won 3 straight against their nearest divisional opponents in Nashville and Scum, with now sizable cushions of 8 and 12 points from them respectively, and putting themselves in the top spot of the West. The Hawks have also won 8 of their last 10 overall, and 7 of their last 10 on the road. On an individual basis, Duncan Keith is carrying a six-game point streak, Patrick Kane a 4-game goal scoring streak (with points in 10 of his last 11), and Brian Campbell with points in 7 of his last 8. Defensively, the PK has killed 38 of their last 39 chances against. So it's safe to say that the Men of Four Feathers are on a bit of a roll. And this is all with the power play still on the outskirts of competence.

On the other side of things, Dallas is currently sitting in 10th place in the conference, and 21st in goals against per game at 2.89, two numbers that likely are not just coincidence. Offensively, the Stars are producing somewhat effectively, being 8th in the league in scoring with Brad Richards leading the way with 42 points and 32 assists. Mike Ribeiro, penis that he is, also has 30 points, but both players are carrying minuses. The reasoning for this likely falls to the aging and deteriorating Marty Turco, who hasn't performed anywhere near his career numbers since the Stars' trip to the western conference finals two years ago. Though he has a save percentage of .911, his goals against sit at 2.62, which is likely a result of facing 30 shots a night behind a defensive corps that is led by Stephane Robidas. If Robidas is your number one defenseman, none of these numbers should come as a shock.

So what can be expected tonight? Both Kris Versteeg and Niklas Hjalmarsson are expected to be back in the lineup for the Hawks after a brief bout with Ebola or whatever it is that they had.  Additionally, Cristobal Huet will be looking to somewhat directly atone for what was arguably his ugliest performance of the year, which came against Dallas in the United Center back in October, where Cris allowed a couple VERY soft goals. It will be interesting to see whether the Stars try to trade chances with the Hawks, as coach Marc Crawford isn't known for trapping, and he doesn't really have the personnel for it outside of Jere Lehtinen and Mike Modano. Either way, if the Hawks continue to play as they have, they should come away with both points tonight. However, one has to hope that they're not looking ahead to the big New Year's Eve tilt against East-leading New Jersey. We'll find out tonight. Let's go Hawks.

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