Dallas Stars look to take one step closer to winning the Central Division

The Dallas Stars start their last road trip of the season, and their first stop is in the Windy City by taking on the Chicago Blackhawks. There is no excuse to lose this afternoon's matchup. They are taking on a team that will be in the draft lottery. With a win against the Blackhawks, the Star's magic number will be down to three wins.
Jan 13, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (16) passes off the puck
Jan 13, 2024; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Dallas Stars forward Joe Pavelski (16) passes off the puck / Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars head out on their final regular season road trip. Their first stop is in the Windy City as they take on the Chicago Blackhawks. The Stars have no excuse for losing today on the road. They can lock up the Central Division title by winning four out of their last six games. They must have the "playoff game" mindset this afternoon. The Blackhawks would like to create chaos at the top of the Central Division.

One thing that will probably happen this afternoon is that Mavrik Bourque will make his NHL debut for the Stars. Bourque is the second-best prospect that the Stars have in their system. He plays like Logan Stankoven but has a more physical side to his game. Bourque was called up for how he's played in the AHL after Stankoven was promoted. He will be paired with Jamie Benn and Stankoven. Here are the three keys of the game today against the Blackhawks.

Dallas Stars vs. Blackhawks Preview: 3. Ease Bourque into the game

The Stars must ease Bourque into the game. He might look frazzled during his first couple of NHL shifts. This feels like the perfect game to ease into NHL action, with the Blackhawks already thinking about golf. However, that's where Jamie Benn comes in and calms him down. Bourque will go full speed to the front of the net and make the most of the minutes Pete DeBoer gives him. If Mavrik looks like the player at the top of the AHL leaderboards, the Stars should win this afternoon.

Dallas Stars vs. Blackhawks Preview: 2. Shut down Connor Bedard and Jason Dickinson

The Stars must take out their two-headed scoring monster this afternoon. Jason Dickinson and Connor Bedard would like to cause chaos against the Stars. Both players have 21 goals this season going into the matchup against the Stars. Dallas can't allow either player to circle their goaltender with the puck on their stick, especially Dickinson. If the Stars can shut down their two-headed scoring monster this afternoon, they should win and recieve two points.

Dallas Stars vs. Blackhawks Preview: 1. Keep the Nils win streak going

Nils Lundkvist has a 16-game win streak when inserted into the Stars' lineup. DeBoer must keep him in the lineup because he makes the offense flow better on the ice. Jani Hakanpaa can remain a healthy scratch unless there's an injury to one of the defensemen. It would be nice to see Lundkvist get more playing time against the Blackhawks this afternoon. It would get him prepared for the playoffs right around the corner. If DeBoer keeps Lundkvist in the lineup and gives him a lot of playing time, the Stars should make the magic number 3 for clinching the Central Division.

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