The Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars tonight, and you can catch all the action on CSN. Coverage begins with Blackhawks Pregame Live at 5:30 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final horn to get analysis and player reaction on Blackhawks Postgame Live.
Five Things to Watch:
1. Better start, stronger finish.
The Blackhawks scored 11 seconds into the first period in Saturday's 3-2 win, but allowed the Stars to get back into the game quickly by giving up two goals within 2:28 of each other. The Blackhawks also let their foot off the gas in the third period after regaining the lead in the second. In the first and third period, the Stars had a combined 40 shot attempts compared to the Blackhawks' 25. In the second period, the Blackhawks owned a 13-8 advantage in the shot attempt department. Look for a more well-rounded effort tonight.
2. Battle of the backups.
Scott Darling and Kari Lehtonen are expected to start in goal for their respective teams in the second of a back-to-back after Corey Crawford and Antti Niemi earned the starts in Dallas. Darling is 2-0-0 with a 3.38 goals against average and .900 save percentage in two games this season, both of which have been at the United Center. Dating back to last year, Darling owns an 8-2-2 record at home compared to 6-6-2 on the road. It's where he plays best. Lehtonen is 1-3-1 with a 2.65 goals against average and .900 save percentage, identical to Darling's, this year.
3. Can the Blackhawks' penalty kill unit stay hot?
After a dismal start to the season, the Blackhawks have now killed off 15 straight penalties and have looked good doing it. Their percentage still ranks at the bottom of the league, but they're certainly making progress and it's a big reason the Blackhawks have won five straight.
4. How will Andrew Desjardins fare in his season debut?
The Blackhawks' penalty kill unit is expected to receive a boost when Desjardins makes his season debut tonight. He missed the first 12 games with a lower-body injury and was activated from injured reserve before Saturday's contest with the intent of getting back in the lineup tonight. It should help alleviate pressure off some of the younger guys who have been asked to take on a larger role in his absence.
5. Can Ryan Hartman build off best game of season?
Corey Crawford, Patrick Kane and coach Joel Quenneville all gave Hartman high praise for his game on Saturday. He scored a goal, registered three hits and logged 10:57 of ice time in a 3-2 win. It was hands down his best game of the season, and it comes at a perfect time as somebody will have to draw out of the lineup with Desjardins returning. Don't expect it to be Hartman.
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