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      23 Aug
    The Super Douchiev

    Anyone else going to the midwest brewers fest in plainfield tomorrow?

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The Blackhawks Duel with 'Big D'

  By Tony DeFrancesco

( PHOTO CREDIT N/A ) Contact us if you know the source.
In the midst of a three game losing streak, the Dallas Stars are ripe for the picking. This team has been up and down all season long and this current streak ties their worst losing streak of the season. If all goes according to planned, the Blackhawks should be able to make this the Stars biggest losing streak in the 2013 season.

Although Dallas does not currently hold a playoff spot, the Stars have received excellent goaltending from Kari Lehtonen all year and he will get the start today. His numbers against Chicago are nothing short of stellar with a 4-2-1 record, 0.933 save percentage, and 2.11 goals against average.

Ageless legend Jaromir Jagr leads the Stars in offense with 10 goals and 18 points over 25 games, but Jamie Benn has also provided a much needed boost of offense since his return with 16 points in 19 games. Overall, the Stars have had some contributions from Derek Roy, Loui Eriksson, and Cody Eakin, but it's clear that they have an issue staying consistent in their offensive production. More times than not, this has put an unavoidable amount of strain on the back of Kari Lehtonen and the defense, and while they have performed well it just hasn't been enough.

In Blackhawk land, the opposite effect holds true. Everyone in Chicago knows how incredible this offense can be, so there's no point in getting into that. Rather, it's important that Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks defense stays focused. At times, the Blackhawks are entirely focused on the offensive side of the puck, yet this Dallas team is the type of team that can exploit a mistake if Chicago doesn't show enough awareness in both offensive and defensive situations. This is inevitable, any team that is attacking is going to try and keep the pressure on so instead of holding back, so there has to be a bit more focus defensively when those opportunities come by. What I mean by that is this: There's always going to be a limit of quality chances on teams like Dallas, so the focus of coming up with the big play, or save, is the most important part of defending against them to keep the momentum in check.

SEASON SERIES (1-0-0) — In the lone match up this season, Marian Hossa was able to put the Stars away with his game winner coming in the overtime period. Patrick Sharp led the Blackhawks with three points (1G, 2A) against the Dallas Stars that night. Corey Crawford started the game and only allowed two goals on 25 shots, meanwhile Kari Lehtonen put together a fantastic performance and stonewalled the Blackhawks all night in a contest that looked as if Lehtonen would steal the game with 41 saves.

IF HISTORY REPEATS — Patrick Kane leads the Chicago Blackhawks with 14 assists and 25 points in 20 career games vs. the Dallas Stars. Marian Hossa leads the team with 12 goals in 25 career games. On defense, Brent Seabrook leads the core with 10 points in 29 games, although Michal Rozsival's stat line is far more impressive with nine points in 16 career games. Corey Crawford can use some improvement against the Stars with a 4-4-0 record, 0 2.68 goals against average, and 0.894 save percentage.

THE BOTTOM LINE — I'm not surprised at Crawford's numbers vs. Lehtonen's. Again, the most important task for Corey and the defense is not to outperform Kari Lehtonen, it's about staying focused in a game that will have a larger scoring chances per shot ratio compared to most games. If the past few years are any indication of how this game will go, expect Lehtonen to stand on his head while the Blackhawks pour it on, just hoping to dent the twine. However, if Lehtonen can't repeat his previous performances against the Blackhawks, this could get ugly for Dallas quickly.


ACROSS THE POND — St. Louis forward Vladmir Tarasenko has returned from a concussion injury ... The Phoenix Coyotes have signed defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson to a six-year contract ...

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