Stars-Blackhawks Preview

Neither the Chicago Blackhawks nor Dallas Stars are playing at the level they hoped to be at this point of the season.

Five weeks after opening the year with a hotly contested battle in Dallas, the division rivals meet again Sunday night in Chicago.

The Blackhawks (9-7-1) are coming off a sloppy 4-1 loss to Detroit on Friday in which they committed several costly turnovers.

"It's unacceptable when you make turnovers like that," said Patrick Kane, who scored for just the second time in 12 games and also had a turnover that led to the game-winning goal. "I think we all have to take ownership for it. Accept it. Make sure we fix the problem."

Both the Blackhawks and Stars rank among the NHL's worst in giveaways. Chicago has turned the puck over 8.71 per game, and Dallas is at 9.88.

The Red Wings also outshot Chicago 37-26, becoming just the third team to outshoot the Blackhawks this season.

"I hope we're not happy or satisfied that we're either not winning or giving them goals carelessly, or serving them up the way we did tonight," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

Friday's loss spoiled Chicago's chance for its first three-game win streak of the season. The Blackhawks have not gone this long without a three-game win streak to open a season since 2006-07, when it took them 24 games.

Dallas (6-7-4) has also failed to string together three straight this season, squandering an opportunity to do so Saturday in a 2-1 defeat to Minnesota.

Kari Lehtonen followed his first shutout of the season Thursday by allowing two goals on 22 shots. The 20 saves marked a season-low for the 11-year veteran.

"We have to be mentally prepared to play these games at home," captain Jamie Benn told the Stars' official website after the team lost its sixth straight in Dallas. "We have no excuses. We have to be better."

Lehtonen will likely get the start Sunday against Chicago, a team he has failed to beat in his last three attempts. Lehtonen's 2.68 goals-against average ranks near the bottom of the NHL for goaltenders with 10 or more starts.

Chicago has won nine of 10 against Dallas, including a 3-2 shootout victory on Oct. 9 despite being outshot 34-26.

Corey Crawford, who has been one of the league's top goalies with a 1.87 GAA, made 32 saves in the opener and is 7-1-0 with a 1.84 GAA in his last eight versus Dallas.

Tyler Seguin is one of the NHL leaders with 12 goals, although in 13 career matchups with the Blackhawks, including the postseason, he has one goal and owns a minus-4 rating.

Outside of Seguin, the Stars' offense has failed to live up to early season expectations. With 2.71 goals per game, Dallas ranks just above the league median and far below the explosive unit that was touted at season's beginning.

Benn has failed to score in his last 10 games and has gone six straight against Chicago with a goal.

"I got no excuses," said Benn, who has attempted 39 shots during his current drought. "Half of it's hoping it, half of it's wanting it. It's got to be 100 percent getting the job done."

Jason Spezza, who scored 23 goals with Ottawa last season, has three tallies in 17 games this year.

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