CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 2: Goalie Corey Crawford #50 of the Chicago Blackhawks makes a save in Game Two of the Western Conference Final against the Los Angeles Kings during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center on June 02, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)

Get your game notes: Stars at Blackhawks

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks hosting the Dallas Stars starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• When Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford defeated the Stars in Dallas on Nov. 29, it was his league-leading 10th win in November and 17th win of the season, as well as the 100th win of his NHL career. The 28-year-old Olympic hopeful for Canada reached the 100-win mark in only his 176th appearance. That ranks third among active goalies for the fewest. (Elias Sports Bureau)
# of appearances
Jimmy Howard, DET 171
Antti Niemi, CHI/SJ 174
Crawford, CHI 176
Ryan Miller, BUF 179
Ray Emery, several teams 183

• Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen is second in the NHL with eight road wins this season (8-2-0 road record). Only the Blackhawks’ Corey Crawford has more wins away from home, with nine (9-3-0).

• Both Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have a habit of exploiting the Stars. Of the teams the duo has faced at least nine times in their careers (which includes all Western Conference teams except Winnipeg), their points-per-game numbers are highest against Dallas:
Kane vs. DAL: 24 GP, 13 goals, 31 pts. (1.29 points/game)
Toews vs. DAL: 22 GP, 11 goals, 26 pts. (1.18 points/game)

• The Stars, 0-for-11 on man-advantages over their last four games, sit last in the NHL at 10.5% on power plays. Tyler Seguin and Sergei Gonchar pace the Stars with four power-play points apiece, the lowest totals for any team leader(s) in the category in the NHL. Only Seguin and Cody Eakin have more than one power-play goal (two apiece).

• On Nov. 3, Stars forward Valeri Nichushkin became the seventh 18-year-old to score a goal this season, marking the first time since 1993-94 that seven different 18-year-olds found the back of the net in one season.

• The Blackhawks (20-4-4) needed only 28 games to reach the 20-win mark this season, the second-fewest in franchise history. That is five more games than 2012-13 when they needed only 23 games, on the way to their NHL-record 21-0-3 start.

• The Blackhawks wrapped up a seven-game, 12-day road trip in which they won their last six, and tonight return home for their first game at the United Center since Nov. 17. The champs have been tough on home ice over the last 2 seasons, posting the NHL’s best regular-season points-percentage:


PHT Morning Skate: Beat writers survey predicts Ducks will win Cup

Corey Perry, Frederik Andersen
AP Photo
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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

In a survey of 29 beat writers, the Anaheim Ducks emerged as the clear favorite to win the Stanley Cup. If you’ll recall, they have that in common with the EA Sports simulation. (Boston Globe)

Alex Ovechkin would pick an Olympic hit against Jaromir Jagr as the biggest check of his life. (Russian Machine Never Breaks)

Here are the highlights from Minnesota’s 5-4 victory over Colorado:

The Montreal Canadiens seem committed to using Alex Galchenyuk as a center throughout the 2015-16 campaign. (The Canadian Press)

The NHL recently enlisted its players to read off some not so mean tweets. (USA Today)

Bills coach Rex Ryan talked about the Sabres in Thursday’s press conference. (

Frederik Andersen may have the Anaheim Ducks’ starting job for now, but with John Gibson still a big part of their plans, Andersen has to keep proving himself. (Orange County Register)

Niemi blanks Pens, notches two assists in Stars debut

Antti Niemi, Sidney Crosby, Patric Hornqvist

DALLAS (AP) — Antti Niemi recorded his 33rd career shutout and assisted on two goals in his Dallas debut, as the Stars beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-0 on Thursday night in the season opener for both.

Ales Hemsky had a power-play goal and an assist.

Rookie Matthias Janmark scored on his first shot on his first shift in an NHL game to make it 1-0. The Stars acquired Niemi and Janmark in trades earlier this year.

Dallas scored on two of five power plays. Jamie Benn, the NHL’s leading scorer last season, had a power-play goal in the third period.

Niemi made 37 saves to improve his career record against the Penguins to 5-1-1. He withstood a flurry in the final minute after Pittsburgh pulled goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for an extra skater.

Fleury had 21 saves.

The Stars are 4-0-1 in their last five home games against Pittsburgh, and have won three in a row overall.

Janmark skated down the slot, took a pass from Hemsky and shot between Fleury’s legs at 1:39 of the first.

The Penguins dominated the latter half of the period, but couldn’t score. Niemi’s best stop was a reaching glove save of Rod Scuderi’s drive from the blue line with less than 3 minutes remaining. Pittsburgh outshot the Stars 10-4 in the first.

Hemsky scored at 5:42 of the second on Dallas’ first power play. His shot from the top of the right faceoff circle went in over Fleury’s right shoulder.

The Penguins again had an advantage in shots, 13-11. Pittsburgh had chances in close, but Niemi turned those away. Midway through the second, John Klingberg cleared away a loose puck from in front of the net.

Seven seconds into the Stars’ fourth power play of the third period, Jamie Benn tipped in Jason Spezza‘s shot from the right point.

NOTES: Dallas acquired Janmark as part of a March trade that sent Erik Cole to Detroit. The rookie had been playing in the Swedish Hockey League. . San Jose traded Niemi’s rights to the Stars in June for a seventh-round draft pick. Also making their Dallas debuts were LW Patrick Sharp and D Johnny Oduya, teammates with Chicago’s Stanley Cup champions last season. . In his first game for the Penguins, Phil Kessel played in his 447th straight game. . Pittsburgh was 0 for 3 on the power play.