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1,001 Nights: Blackhawks need more than their star story-teller to save them against Dallas

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The Hawks still maintain fourth place in the division at the midway point in the season

NHL: MAR 09 Blackhawks at Stars Photo by Steve Nurenberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Thursday night will feature the second of Chicago’s two consecutive road games against the Stars, which is also the last of the Blackhawks’ four games in Dallas this season

Kevin Lankinen will start in goal against the Stars’ 8-8-5 record as compared to the Blackhawks’ tally of 13-9-5.

An upsetting loss on 6-1 to Dallas on Tuesday made Patrick Kane’s 1000th NHL career game was made bittersweet. At 32 years old, Kane is the youngest Blackhawks player to reach this mark, while Stan Mikita holds the team’s record at 1,396 — although Duncan Keith is closing in at second place with 1,164 career games. Kane is now the 350th NHL player with 1000 career games.

In an effort to keep thinks light before the landmark game, Kane expressed his inability to sleep due to nerves, while sharing a tactic to help overcome this problem.

With 21 points in 21 games, Dallas holds in seventh place in the Central Division — although they have games in hand on every team above them — while Chicago is grasping on to the division’s last playoff spot in fourth-place with 31 points in 27 games.

Stars Coach Rich Bowness commented that Tuesday’s game “put us back in the playoff hunt,” but also admitted that, “with where we are in the battle for a playoff spot, you get about an hour to enjoy this.”

The first move was made on Tuesday just 100 seconds into the first period with Joel Kiviranta’s goal. Mattias Janmark scored the lone Blackhawks goal with a one-timer early in the second, but Dallas answered back with four goals in the second. The last goal for Dallas, pocketed in the third period, reminded us that baseball season is upon us as Roope Hintz batted the puck into the net out of mid-air. Jason Robertson had four assists, the fourth rookie in franchise history to reach that milestone.

Overall, Tuesday’s game saw some problematic issues everywhere, with Dallas leading in shot attempts 60-36 and overwhelming Chicago 30-12 in scoring chances. Despite the six goals scored for Dallas, Malcolm Subban kept 31 attempts out of the net, compared to just 21 saves for Anton Khudobin. The Blackhawks have allowed six goals against in each of their last two games — both losses.

In some good news, though: Kirby Dach has said he is making progress and skating with the team again, despite still having ways to go in his first interview since being injured in a World Juniors pre-tournament game. And, no surprises here, he regrets nothing about sustaining an injury while living his dream of playing for Team Canada.

With 13 goals Joe Pavelski leads the Stars while Jason Robertson is second with three goals in the last 10 games. Kane, of course, leads the Blackhawks while Alex DeBrincat is below that with six goals and six assists in the last 10 games.

Ian Mitchell seems to be struggling as Coach Jeremy Colliton announced that he would be sitting out his second game in a row for some ‘study time.’

The Blackhawks will still have Dylan Stone and Zach Smith on injured reserve while the Stars are still missing right winger Alexander Radulov and center Tyler Seguin.

Alright Hawks, ahead of Thursday’s rematch with Dallas, perhaps it’s time to follow Kane’s mantra: breath in, breath out, 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4 ...

Tale of the Tape

Blackhawks — Statistic — Stars

46.9% (30th) — Corsi For — 51.0% (9th)

32.8% (4th) — Expected goals for — 20.8% (25th)

3.00 (15th) — Goals per game — 2.95 (17th)

3.11 (22nd) — Goals against per game — 2.48 (5th)

47.1% (26th) — Faceoffs — 50.7% (13th)

30.4% (2nd) — Power play — 26.0% (9th)

72.3% (28th) — Penalty kill — 79.0% (16th)

Projected lineups

Blackhawks

DeBrincat — Suter — Kane

Janmark — Soderberg — Kurashev

Kubalik — Kampf — Hagel

Highmore — Carpenter — Wallmark

Keith — Boqvist

Zadorov — Murphy

de Haan — Beaudin

Lankinen

Subban

Stars

Benn — Pavelski — Gurianov

Robertson — Dickinson — Kiviranta

Cogliano — Faksa — Comeau

Caamano — Dellandrea — L’Esperance

Lindell — Pysyk

Oleksiak — Heiskanen

Hanley — Sekera

Khudobin/Oettinger

How to watch

When: 7:30 p.m.

Where: American Airlines Center, Dallas

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

Live stream: NBC Sports app, NHL.tv