Stars aim to continue recent surge in Chicago

( - The Dallas Stars aim to grab hold of a wild card spot with a third straight victory on Tuesday night as they visit the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

The Stars have followed up an 0-3-1 skid with victories over the Ottawa Senators and Winnipeg Jets. Dallas' 79 points put it one back of the Phoenix Coyotes for the second bonus playoff berth in the Western Conference. The Stars have a game in hand over the Coyotes, who visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday after having lost in overtime to the New York Rangers last night.

Dallas used solid special teams play to record a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night. Ray Whitney and Tyler Seguin scored power-play goals and Jamie Benn assisted on both tallies.

Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves for the Stars.

"We played sound defensively," said Stars head coach Lindy Ruff. "Special teams won us the game and our goaltender made some big saves when we needed them."

Whitney scored for the first time in 13 games and it was just his eighth goal of the season, while Seguin extended his career-high point streak to nine straight games. He has seven goals and nine assists over the run.

It is unknown if Lehtonen will get the start on back-to-back nights or if Ruff will give Tim Thomas the call. Lehtonen is 5-5-2 with a 2.79 goals against average lifetime versus Chicago, while Thomas is 6-1-1 with a 2.30 GAA against the Blackhawks.

Chicago had a two-game winning streak halted with Sunday's 2-0 loss to the Nashville Predators. The Blackhawks are just three points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche for second place in the Central Division and also sit six points back of the first-place St. Louis Blues.

Corey Crawford made 15 saves in Sunday's setback, which came with Patrick Kane, Bryan Bickell and Michal Rozsival all out of the lineup due to injury.

"They do a good job of keeping you on the outside and preventing you from getting to the net," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said of the Predators.

The Blackhawks conclude a four-game homestand tonight and have won three of four versus the Stars this season. All three victories came in Dallas, while the Stars notched a 4-3 victory in Chicago on Dec. 3.

The 'Hawks have won eight of the previous 10 meetings overall.