By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks saw their four-game winning streak come to an end Thursday night in the United Center. Forty minutes of defensive dominance gave way to an opportunistic Dallas Stars club that outworked the Blackhawks in the final ten minutes and stunned the home team by a score of 3-1.
Rookie goalie Richard Bachman got the start for the Stars and proved to be the difference, keeping his team in the contest with 26 saves and allowing Dallas to snatch two points from the Blackhawks.
Neither team generated a lot of scoring chances in the opening period. The ‘Hawks continued to play well in their own zone, but only outshot the Stars 6-5.
The Blackhawks went on the power play three minutes into the game when Michael Ryder was called for tripping. Jimmy Hayes got a shot early but the United Center crowd got a scare when a pass got over Brent Seabrook’s stick. Adam Burish took the turnover right to the ‘Hawks’ net, but Crawford turned away the attempt to prevent an embarrassing shorthanded goal.
Marian Hossa won possession of the puck in a board battle in the Dallas zone in the fifteenth minute and found Nick Leddy in open space about 15 feet from the net. Leddy couldn’t get much on the shot, however, and Bachman handled it easily.
The pace picked up a bit in the second period. Ryan Garbutt gathered in a failed Marcus Kruger drop pass, beat Dylan Olsen up the ice and beat Corey Crawford with the shot. Fortunately for the Blackhawks, the shot clanged off of both posts.
Both teams traded shots on goal until Michael Frolik swiped the puck from Mark Fistric in the corner of the Stars zone. Frolik took the puck to the front of the net before losing the handle, but Hossa was there to get the biscuit in the basket. At the midway point of the game, Chicago had a 1-0 lead.
Crawford saw just five shots in the middle stanza, but made an impressive stick save on a tipped shot in the fifteenth minute to keep the Stars off the board. Hossa hit the post as the clock ran out and the Blackhawks took the one-goal advantage to the locker room.
Chicago kept the pressure on the Stars in the opening minutes of the third period, though they couldn’t build on the lead. Crawford didn’t see a shot for nearly the first six minutes of the period, but made a nice glove save off of a Sheldon Souray attempt.
A defensive slip up blew the shutout and tied the contest with 10:35 left. The Blackhawks were called for icing, but won the draw in their zone. Brent Seabrook sent the puck up the boards, but Hossa got caught trying to get a breakaway started. Fistric held the puck in the zone, starting a sequence that ended when Steve Ott redirected a Trevor Daley slap shot into the net.
Five minutes later, another redirect put the Stars in the lead. This time, Ryder knocked in Mike Ribeiro’s shot. The period went from bad to worse for Chicago 1:14 later when Nick Leddy lost an edge, leading to Ryder getting a shot off from the right face off circle. The puck struck Seabrook’s skate, arched over Crawford and was knocked in by Loui Eriksson for the back breaker.
-Chicago loses a game it controlled for all but a few minutes. The Blackhawks were 23-0-2 when winning heading into the third period. Dallas was 2-22 after trailing after two periods. Not getting at least a point out of the game stings.
-After out shooting the Stars 22-10 through the first 40 minutes, Dallas out shot the ‘Hawks 15-5 in the last 20 minutes.
-While noting that Sami Lepisto was even for the seven previous games, Pat Foley commented that “as a guy on the third pairing, that’s exactly what you’re looking for. Glad Quenneville finally noticed, though it took a pair of concussions to force him to use the guy.
-Maybe I’m over reacting, but if your star player and captain has either:
A. an upper body injury that has kept him out of the lineup for the last two games, or
B. a concussion, as widely speculated, what is that player doing driving a car?
-The goalie Quenneville was asked about in his postgame media session was Rockford’s Carter Hutton, who apparently signed a two-way NHL deal with the Blackhawks Thursday. Since he was on an AHL-only deal with the IceHogs, Hutton will first need to clear NHL waivers by 11am Friday before he can officially be Blackhawk property.
-As part of the “Behind The Lens” night on CSN, we were treated to a backstage look at the broadcast as well as the United Center experience. One misstep; Foley talked about the great food available at the game, ending with a look at the frozen pizza the United Center currently serves instead of Connie’s. Who thought replacing a Chicago favorite with DiGiorno’s would be a good idea?
-Next up is a weekend jaunt to the West Coast with games with Los Angeles and Anaheim on Saturday and Sunday.