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Hawks Get Edge in Trading Shuffle

Posted by Webster Washington on 3/13/2016 9:30:55 AM

Two teams locked in a fierce divisional battle square off Friday night when the Chicago Blackhawks visit Dallas to take on the Stars. But neither team has played quite like league leaders lately. They're clinging the top of the Central Division and Western Conference. But the surging St. Louis Blues are threatening to overcome them.

Cooling Off

The Blackhawks had an uncharacteristic run In February, going only 6-5. But they had won two of three going into Wednesday's big confrontation with the Blues. They have a deep lineup, anchored by the play of Patrick Kane, who leads the league with a whopping 89 points. Their depth has been expanded in recent weeks, with the trade additions of forwards Tomas Fleischmann, Andrew Ladd and Dale Weise. Goaltender Corey Crawford has anchored the 'Hawks defensively with a 2.22 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage.

The Stars have been even less impressive, winning only three in their last 10 games. In fact, Dallas has had a losing record (11-17) since Jan. 1. Their success has fallen off partly because of the slump of their star center, Tyler Seguin, who was four straight games without a point going into Tuesday's game at Montreal. The Stars other scoring leaders, Jamie Benn and John Klingberg, have not been too productive lately either, collecting only four points between them in the last five games. Klingberg has been bothered by a lower body injury and is expected to miss Friday's game. On the positive side, center Colton Sceviour has filled in with five points in five games, and recently acquired Kris Russell has quickly moved to the front of the defensive line.

Blackhawks Look Better

Dallas winners of two straight going into Montreal, is on the front end of a homestand, facing five key playoff contenders, so the Stars know they'll have to get things rolling back in their favor to have hopes of holding the division lead. They have a 2-1 edge in the series v. Chicago, splitting games in Dallas. The last confrontation was a 4-1 Chicago win in Dallas a month ago. The Stars are simply going in the wrong direction lately, and they are 1-4 in their last five at home. I favor the Blackhawks at -110 or better here, and I'll take a good look at the over, if it is 5 and a decent price.

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