The Central Division showdown at United Center in Chicago, Illinois, will see the Dallas Stars take on the Chicago Bulls for the fourth time this season. The Blackhawks lead the series 2-1 with a couple of wins on the road, while the Stars have won the previous head-to-head matchup at United Center. Chicago is eliminated from the playoff contention, while Dallas has clinched the wild card. NHL: Friday, April 5, 2019, United Center, Chicago, Illinois, 8:30 PM ET
The Stars are looking for their fourth straight win in Chicago
The Dallas Stars (42-31-7) are coming off a 6-2 victory to the Philadelphia Flyers this past Tuesday, securing the wild-card spot in the Western Conference to reach the postseason for the first time since 2016. Alexander Radulov put on a show with a couple of goals and assists, while Anton Khudobin made 32 saves to lift his team over the Flyers. The Stars are the No. 7 seed at the moment three points ahead of Colorado. They are four points behind St. Louis, so keeping their current position will be enough for the Stars to avoid the Calgary Flames in the first round of the playoffs.
Center Tyler Seguin is leading the way for the Stars, scoring 31 goals along with 41 assists in 80 outings this season. Winger Alexander Radulov scored 29 goals along with 41 assists in 68 appearances, and he’ll be another key player for the Stars in the postseason. Winger Jamie Benn added 27 goals and 25 dishes in 77 outings. Dallas can count on a couple of brilliant goalies, and with Ben Bishop recovering from an injury, Anton Khudobin has started in the previous four games. Bishop has a 26-15-2 record this season with 2.03 GAA and .933 save percentage, while Khudobin has a 16-16-5 record with 2.47 GAA and .926 save percentage. The Stars are 28th in the league in goals per game (2.56) and 2nd in goals against (2.43), while their penalty kill percentage is 6th-best in the league (82.4).
The Blackhawks will miss the playoffs for the second year in a row
The Chicago Blackhawks (35-33-12) are coming off a 4-3 shootout win to the St. Louis Blues this past Wednesday to put an end to their two-game slide. It was an entertaining clash with 78 shots in the total, and the Blackhawks blew a 3-1 lead in the 3rd period as Tyler Bozak tied the game with 39 seconds left on the clock. Still, the Blackhawks earned the victory thanks to Jonathan Toews who was the only man to score in the shootout. Chicago stays bottom of the Central Division one point behind Minnesota and will visit Nashville in its season finale.
Winger Patrick Kane is a key player for the Blackhawks this season, tallying 42 goals and 65 assists in 79 outings. Center Jonathan Toews scored 35 goals along with 44 assists, while winger Alex DeBrincat added 41 goals and 33 dishes. Corey Crawford is the first choice between the pipes, and he has a 14-18-5 record this term with 2.96 GAA and .907 save percentage. The Blackhawks are 9th in the league in goals per game (3.24) and 30th in goals against (3.56), while their penalty kill percentage is the worst in the league (73.1).
- 4-1 in the last five games overall
- 7-1 in the last eight games on the road
- 6-2 in the last eight meetings with the Central Division
- 3-6 in the last nine games overall
- 2-5 in the last seven encounters with Dallas
The Stars still need a couple of points to secure the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference, as avoiding Calgary in the first round will be essential, considering the Flames’ form. On the other side, the Blackhawks have nothing more to prove this season. The Stars have won the previous three H2H duels at United Center, so I’m looking for their fourth straight victory over Chicago on the road.
Betting Pick: Dallas Stars (-110)