DALLAS — If the Dallas Stars are going to climb back into the playoff they’ll need to better against the Central Division.
Dallas is 8-10-4 against division foes, including a 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. The Stars welcome another divisional opponent on Saturday when the Chicago Blackhawks visit American Airlines Center.
And the Blackhawks have been one of the more difficult opponents for the Stars. Dallas is 0-2-1 against Chicago, and the overtime point was courtesy of Gemel Smith, who scored a pair of goals back on Nov. 6 in Chicago.
“We’ve had some missed opportunities against this team,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We had a chance in overtime in their building and didn’t put it away. So there’s been opportunities and we just quite haven’t got it done.”
The Stars will have to make due without Jason Spezza on Saturday. Spezza sustained an upper-body injury against Winnipeg, and Curtis McKenzie will re-enter the lineup after missing two games.
Blackhawks projected lineup
Nick Schmaltz — Jonathan Toews — Richard Panik
Artemi Panarin — Artem Anisimov — Patrick Kane
Dennis Rasmussen — Marcus Kruger — Marian Hossa
Ryan Hartman — Tanner Kero — Jordin Tootoo
Duncan Keith — Niklas Hjalmarson
Gustav Forsling — Brent Seabrook
Brian Campbell — Trevor van Riemsdyk
Scratched: Michael Kempny, Andrew Desjardins, Vinnie Hinostroza
Injured: Michael Rozsival (lower-body)
Stars projected lineup
Jamie Benn — Cody Eakin — Patrick Eaves
Devin Shore — Radek Faksa– Patrick Sharp
Antoine Roussel — Tyler Seguin — Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie — Adam Cracknell — Lauri Korpikoski
Esa Lindell — John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis — Jordie Benn
Patrik Nemeth — Stephen Johns
Scratched: Jiri Hudler, Curtis McKenzie, Julius Honka
Injured: Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip), Jamie Oleksiak (hand), Johnny Oduya (lower body), Jason Spezza (upper body)