The big game before the BIG game, amirite? The Chicago Blackhawks and Dallas Stars provide your opening entertainment this afternoon before the Buccaneers and Chiefs face-off. Not a bad appetizer with all the offensive fire-power that both teams bring to the table. The first of eight meetings this season between the clubs, both teams enter today’s game coming off series splits.
Puck Drop: 2:00 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH, FS-SW, ESPN+
Radio: WGN 720 AM
Blackhawks (4-4-4, 12 pts)
Janmark – Kurashev – Kane
DeBrincat – Strome – Kubalík
Suter – Söderberg – Hagel
Highmore – Kämpf – Shaw
Keith – Mitchell
deHaan – Murphy
Zadorov – Beaudin
Stars (5-2-1, 11 pts)
Benn – Pavelski – Dellandrea
Dickinson – Hintz – Gurianov
Cogliano – Faksa – Comeau
Kero – Dowling – Robertson
Lindell – Klingberg
Oleksiak – Heiskanen
Hanley – Pysyk
(*Anton Khudobin will be scratched due to “internal issues”)
Brent Seabrook (IR – Lower Back)
Zack Smith (IR – Back)
Kirby Dach (LTIR – Out 4-5 months – Wrist)
Alex Nylander (LTIR – Out 4-6 months – Knee)
Jonathan Toews (LTIR – Illness)
Adam Boqvist (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Lucas Wallmark (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Ryan Carpenter (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Alexander Radulov (Day-to-day – Lower body)
Joel Kiviranta (Day-to-day – Lower body)
Andrej Sekera (Day-to-day – COVID Protocol)
Ben Bishop (LTIR – Knee Surgery)
Stephen Johns (LTIR – Head Injury)
Tyler Seguin (Indefinite – Hip Surgery)
What To Watch For
• Special teams are going to be a focal point in this series. The Blackhawks have the No. 3 powerplay in the league, while Dallas has the league’s top powerplay unit. On the flip-side, the teams are right next to each other in the NHL ranks on the penalty-kill with Chicago ranking 13th and the Stars ranking 14th. It’ll be key to see who can stay out of the penalty box between these two teams.
• Their is plenty of firepower from the Blackhawks coming into this one. Patrick Kane has eight points in a four-game streak. Kane has also tallied at least one point in each of his last five games against the Stars. Alex DeBrincat has seven points during his own four-game streak. Rookies Pius Suter and Philipp Kurashev each have three-game point streaks heading into this afternoon’s contest, with Suter tallying three points and Kurashev with four. Finally, while not on a streak of games, Dominik Kubalík has six points in his last four games.
• This will be the first time Mattias Janmark faces his old team. Janmark was a member of the Dallas Stars from 2015-2020, helping them reach the Stanley Cup Final last season. He had 109 points in 297 regular season games with the Stars, and comes into today’s game with four points in his last three games played.
• Malcolm Subban gets his third start of the season today with Collin Delia backing him up. Kevin Lankinen, who had started eight of the last nine games for the Blackhawks, gets a full day off. Subban is 0-1-1 in his two previous starts this season.
The Chicago Blackhawks are 1.5 goal underdogs in this one, according to the Draftkings Illinois Sportsbook, with +135 on the money.
Get Caught Up …
Jeremy Colliton on Kevin Lankinen sitting out after making five straight starts: "We just want to give him a mental break from dressing. He still skated today and did some work with Jimmy [Waite]." #Blackhawks
— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) February 7, 2021
Colliton on Subban starting: "Malcolm was good last game, then he had to wait a few days, but he’s getting another chance… They can’t control when they get a chance but when they do get it, they need to make the most of it."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 7, 2021
Jake Oettinger will start for the Stars tomorrow vs. Blackhawks. Anton Khudobin missed practice today. Rick Bowness said, "that’s an internal issue that we’ll deal with internally."
Alexander Radulov is day-to-day, lower body.
— Tracey Myers (@Tramyers_NHL) February 6, 2021
Mattias Janmark on facing the Stars: "Going back to the city today is going to be fun. It's been like home for the last 5 years… It's going to be weird that first faceoff or to see the guys, but once the game gets going, I'll get used to it."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 6, 2021
Colliton on Janmark: "He's so strong on the puck, wins battles, 50-50s, moves the puck forward. He's got some skill, he can make plays and that's a nice combination. He can help us in a lot of different spots. He's playing power play, PK, doing a good job for us." #Blackhawks
— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) February 6, 2021
Colliton on Dallas series coming up: "They've got some clearly dynamic defensemen. They're great on the breakout, great on the blue line."
"We've got to be ready for them. We want to not allow them to establish zone time and be clean on our breakouts."
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 6, 2021