Dallas Stars

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to snap losing streak vs. Stars

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NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks look to snap losing streak vs. Stars

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Patrick Kane going for 500.

Earlier in the season, Kane hit the 300-goal mark and 800-point milestone for his NHL career. Now he's going for the trifecta.

The next assist the former Hart Trophy winner will record will be his 500th. He would become the 19th active player to reach that mark, and sixth player in franchise history to do that (Stan Mikita: 926, Denis Savard: 719, Doug Wilson: 554, Bobby Hull: 549 and Steve Larmer: 517)

2. Jonathan Toews' scoring drought.

Since scoring four goals in his first four games to kick off the 2018 calendar year, the Blackhawks captain hasn't found the back of the net in 11 straight, tying the third-longest goal drought of his career.

Here are his previous droughts:

  • 13 games during 2016-17 season
  • 12 games to open the 2008-09 season
  • 11 games during 2014-15 season
  • 11 games during 2017-18 season*


If the Blackhawks want to make a late playoff push, it starts and ends with No. 19 getting going offensively.

3. Tyler Seguin.

After having just two points (one goal, one assist) in his previous seven games, Seguin has three goals and two assists in a three-game goal/point streak. He hasn't scored a goal in four straight this season, and you better believe he'll be looking to extend each of those against the Blackhawks.

Seguin is coming off a game in which he registered 14 shot attempts (six on goal). He also has recorded at least a point in each of the first three games against Chicago, including a two-goal effort in a 4-0 win on Dec. 21.

Five takeaways from Blackhawks loss to Stars: The streak comes to an end

Five takeaways from Blackhawks loss to Stars: The streak comes to an end

Here are five takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-0 loss to the Dallas Stars on Thursday night:

1. Missed chances in first period.

With three days to prepare for the first of a six-game road trip, the Blackhawks appeared to have fresh legs and dictated the pace of play early on. They recorded 27 shots with 11 of them hitting the net and allowed 22 attempts with only seven on goal.

The Blackhawks also generated 13 scoring chances, but couldn't capitalize on any of their opportunities, which included two post-shots. The Stars had just five scoring chances but converted on one of them when Jamie Benn scored seconds after their power play expired late in the frame to make it 1-0 Dallas.

It was all down hill after that.

2. Patrick Kane's 300th will have to wait another day.

Sitting on 299 goals for his NHL career, Kane came out flying looking to score his 300th right off the bat. He slowed down a bit after the first period but still finished with six shot attempts (two on goal). 

Ultimately, he was held off the scoresheet altogether — as was the entire team — and snapped a four-game point streak and three-game goal streak.

3. Forgettable night for penalty kill.

This is an area the Blackhawks have been good in all season long, entering the contest with the fourth-ranked penalty kill unit in the league (83.5 percent success rate). In this one though it wasn't so great.

The Stars went 1-for-3 on the power play on paper, but their first goal of the game came three seconds after it had expired when Jamie Benn buried a one-timer from Remi Elie to put the Stars on the board. 

Tyler Seguin scored his first of two on the night with the man advantage when he gathered a loose puck, made a nice deke and backhanded a shot past Corey Crawford, who suffered his first regulation loss since Nov. 12. He was 9-0-2 over that span.

4. Injury scare for Jonathan Toews.

The Blackhawks had a minor injury scare in the first period when their captain was sent to the dressing roomo after taking a big hit from former Blackhawks defenseman Stephen Johns. He missed a couple of shifts but returned in the period and finished with only 14:03 of ice time.

Toews won 10 of 16 faceoffs and was the only player on the team that finished with a win percentage of at least 50. The Blackhawks were 23-for-60 (38 percent) at the circle as a team.

5. Quiet return for Richard Panik.

Joel Quenneville said a reason he decided to healthy scratch Patrick Sharp for the first time this season in favor of Panik was because he didn't want guys sitting too long. A message was clearly sent to Panik, who sat for the previous three games, to up his game but he didn't exactly take advantage of being back into the lineup.

Panik registered just one shot on goal and one hit, the latter of which came on the power play with roughly three minutes remaining. Was it enough to keep himself in the lineup for Saturday's game against the New Jersey Devils?

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks open six-game road trip in Dallas

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Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks open six-game road trip in Dallas

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Dallas Stars tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Patrick Kane going for 300.

For the second time this season, the 29-year-old winger has scored a goal in three consecutive games. He has four goals and three assists during his four-game point streak, and his two-goal effort in Sunday's 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild put him at 299 for his NHL career.

One more and he'll become the 20th active player to hit the 300-goal milestone, and the fifth in franchise history to do so. 

Kane has 52 career points (24 goals, 28 assists) against the Stars, which is tied with St. Louis for the most he's racked up against one team. Will he stay hot?

2. Who's in, who's out?

Cody Franson (upper body) and Jan Rutta (upper body) were each targeting tonight as a potential return date, but both have been ruled out and will take advantage of an extra day or two to get 100 percent healthy. Michal Kempny and Jordan Oesterle will stay in the lineup.

Up front though it appears Patrick Sharp will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season in favor of Richard Panik, who has sat out the last three games and will look to end a 21-game goal drought. Sharp hasn't scored a goal in 10 straight, and his shooting percentage is 4.2 percent, which is the lowest of his NHL career.

Let's see how Panik responds to the message sent by Joel Quenneville, and whether he can get back to playing his style of game.

3. Power play bound for breakout?

The Blackhawks are 0-for-14 on the power play in their last four games, including an 0-for-6 game against the Wild on Sunday, but they generated a handful of scoring chances on at least half of them, which drew cheers from the United Center crowd.

"Better, but we still want the finished product," Quenneville said after that game. "Had a couple dangerous looks around the net, definitely had zone time, possession time, did what it had to do. It's not losing momentum in the game and almost every one of them we had over a minute in their end. Still looking for the finished product."

Perhaps they're due for a breakthrough. The Stars have allowed at least a power-play goal in three of their last four games (12-for-16 for a 75 percent success rate). They're vulnerable in that area and the Blackhawks must capitalize on their opportunities.