The hard-charging Dallas Stars will shoot for a sixth straight victory when they visit the playoff-bound Chicago Blackhawks for Monday's clash at United Center.
Although Dallas sold off some of its top talent before this season's trade deadline -- dealing away both Jaromir Jagr and Brenden Morrow -- the club is mounting a late-season surge that could land the Stars a playoff spot.
The Stars won their fifth straight game Saturday night against visiting San Jose. The hot streak has pushed Dallas into a tie with Columbus for ninth place in the Western Conference and leaves the Stars two points out of a playoff spot.
Minnesota and Detroit are currently tied for the West's last two postseason berths. The Wild play Monday in Calgary, while Detroit has the night off. The Blue Jackets also are in action against Colorado.
Rookie forward Alex Chiasson, who was only recalled after Jagr and Morrow were traded, has fueled the Stars' late run, scoring six goals over his first six NHL games.
Chiasson, a second-round draft pick by the Stars in 2009, scored once to help the Stars record Saturday's 2-1 win over the Sharks. Eric Nystrom also scored and Richard Bachman posted 31 saves to pick up the win.
"At the trade deadline we had two choices," said Bachman. "One was to just give in and go through the motions. Or we could prove people wrong."
Bachman has earned the last three wins for Dallas after No. 1 netminder Kari Lehtonen went down with a groin injury on Tuesday. Lehtonen has resumed skating and he could return on Monday.
Dallas last won six in a row from March 2-13 of last season. The Stars have also won three straight on the road and are 11-8-1 as the visiting team in 2013. Beginning with Monday's tilt, the Stars will play four of their next five on the road before closing the regular season on a two-game homestand.
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks, who have already clinched the Central Division title, will try to complete a season sweep of the Stars on Monday.
Chicago notched an overtime win in Dallas on Jan. 24 and then posted another road victory, an 8-1 rout on March 16, to push its winning streak in this series to three games. The Stars have won two of their last three in Chicago and this encounter is Dallas' only scheduled trip to the Windy City this season.
The Blackhawks won their fifth straight game on Sunday, notching a 2-0 win at St. Louis behind a 30-save shutout performance from Corey Crawford. It was the third shutout of the season for Crawford and eighth of his career.
"This team is a good test for us for playoff-style hockey. They play hard. They're physical," Crawford said. "It just seems like they're all over the ice, but we didn't play into their game. We let them do their thing."
Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa scored for Chicago, which is nine points ahead of Anaheim for the top seed in the West and four points in front of Pittsburgh for the NHL lead.
Chicago is kicking off a three-game homestand on Monday and has a superb 15-3-2 record at the United Center this year. After this home stint, the Blackhawks will finish their regular season by playing three of four on the road.