|NHL Preview: Chicago Blackhawks at Dallas Stars|
|Written by Anthony Rome|
|Wednesday, 31 October 2007 14:00|
Looking to Halt History
Mike Modano has been concerned that his pursuit of a record has become a distraction for the Dallas Stars. If Modano can continue to shake off his early season struggles, he won't have to worry about his teammates losing focus.
Modano looks to become the all-time points leader among U.S.-born players and the Stars (5-4-2) hope to continue their home dominance of the Chicago Blackhawks (5-6-0) when the teams meet Wednesday.
Modano has 509 goals and 722 assists for 1,231 points, trailing Hall of Fame defenseman Phil Housley for the all-time scoring lead among Americans by one point.
"I want to get it behind us and move on,'' Modano said.
Modano has three points in the last two games, giving him three goals and two assists overall. The five points are equal to the fewest Modano has recorded in his first 11 games of a season, matching his starts in 2001-02 and 2003-04.
Modano assisted on Matt Niskanen's goal with 14:46 left in the second period that gave the Stars the lead Monday, but they allowed three unanswered scores in the third period of a 4-2 home loss to San Jose.
"Some mistakes were made on our end by people we rely on to shut people down,'' said Dallas coach Dave Tippett, whose team has blown three third-period leads. ``Then they put the puck in the back of the net.''
Modano had a goal and an assist in a 5-3 win Saturday at Phoenix.
Modano, a Livonia, Mich. native who already owns the American record for goals, looks to help the Stars remain unbeaten against the Blackhawks at the American Airlines Center. The teams tied 2-2 in the first meeting there on Oct. 20, 2001, and the Stars have won the nine subsequent matchups at the arena. The Stars last lost at home in regulation to Chicago on April 13, 1997, and are 16-1-1 with a tie in the last 19 meetings in Dallas.
Modano has 33 goals and 45 assists in 87 games against Chicago - a 78-point total that's tied for his second-highest against any team.
Modano recorded a point in six straight games against the Blackhawks before being shut out in the Stars' 2-1 loss on Oct. 13 at Chicago in the teams' first meeting of 2007-08.
The Blackhawks are trying to avoid losing four in a row for the first time since they dropped six consecutive games from March 16-28. Chicago lost by one goal for the third time this season Saturday, 3-2 at home to Atlanta.
"We played a strong game," coach Denis Savard said. "We're snake-bit right now. We missed some great opportunities."
The Blackhawks have been sparked offensively by rookies Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Toews, who missed Chicago's first two games with a broken finger, has a point in all nine of his contests, while Kane leads all first-year players with 14 points on four goals and 10 assists.
"We've got to finish our chances," Kane said. "I guess that's just bad bounces. Maybe we can get a lucky one, a rebound of something."
Chicago's Nikolai Khabibulin is 0-5-1 with one tie and a 3.73 goals-against average in his last seven visits to Dallas after winning his first five games there. He's 12-13-1 with two ties and a 2.78 goals-against average against the Stars, including 5-5-1 with a tie and 2.96 GAA on the road.
Dallas' Marty Turco is 12-2-0 with a tie and a 1.55 GAA in 16 games against Chicago. He's won all seven of his home starts against the Blackhawks.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Dallas -178 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on Dallas -178 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
The Stars have scored a first-period goal in eight straight games, giving them 10 for the season. The Blackhawks have surrendered 11 in the first 20 minutes of games.
by: Staff Writers - Email Us
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