By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks came out with a pair of early tallies to establish control in Dallas Friday night. Up 2-0 before Stars fans knew what had hit their team, the Blackhawks won their third road game in four tries this month with a 4-1 triumph.
Chicago took little time in lighting the lamp. Just seconds after the faceoff, Bryan Bickell got control of the puck along the boards between the benches. Andrew Shaw got the pass as he came over the blue line and dropped it back to Dave Bolland, who snapped home the shot past Kari Lehtonen at the ten second mark of the opening period.
Ninety seconds later, after Corey Crawford turned away a redirected shot, the Hawks brought the puck to the other end. Viktor Stalberg’s attempt was blocked by Lehtonen, but Patrick Sharp got the puck out the corner. Looping into the left faceoff circle, Sharp fired for the opposite post. The shot got past Lehtonen and 1:42 into the game held a two-goal advantage.
The Blackhawks defense did the rest for most of the next two periods, limiting Dallas to just five shots in the first twenty minutes. The Stars came out with more zip in the second period and pressed Corey Crawford, but the second-year goalie was on his game.
Tom Wandell split the defense in the third minute and fed the puck to Tomas Vincour, but Crawford smothered the attempt. Brenden Morrow worked a nice give and go with Steve Ott midway through the second and wound up on the doorstep with a loose puck off of a Trevor Daley shot, but Crawford would stop the attempt to convert on the rebound.
Three minutes later, Jamie Benn centered to Ott, who had open net. Andrew Brunette’s back check prevented Ott from converting. Crawford turned away a big Dallas push in the last five minutes to keep the score 2-0 after two periods.
Chicago was able to strike quickly again in the final period. Marian Hossa got in the way of a clearing attempt, getting possession just inside the Dallas blue line. Working a nice give and go with Patrick Kane, Hossa’s slap shot found twine to give the Blackhawks a 3-0 lead 33 seconds into the action.
The Hawks final goal of the contest came in similar fashion after Viktor Stalberg and Johnny Oduya parlayed some active sticks to win control of the puck in the neutral zone. Oduya got the puck to Stalberg coming over the blue line, Stalberg got it to Sharp, and number ten did the rest, scoring with 18:15 remaining to make the score 4-0 Chicago.
Crawford looked to be heading for the Blackhawks first shutout of the season, but a fortunate bounce off an Ott shot attempt found its way to Benn’s stick right in front of the crease. Benn slipped it in for Dallas’ lone goal in 22 attempts with just over five minutes to play.
-Crawford has swung the pendulum back his way with a solid relief appearance for Ray Emery Tuesday to go with Friday’s effort. With Emery missing Friday’s game with illness, I’d think Crawford gets the net Sunday when the Blackhawks host Washington.
-Emery was unable to suit up Friday, so Carter Hutton was recalled from Rockford. Hutton has now served in a backup capacity to both Crawford and Antti Niemi in consecutive seasons. With Hutton in Dallas, Alexander Salak allowed four goals in the Ice Hogs’ 4-3 loss in Houston Friday night.
-It was nice to see that Niklas Hjalmarsson was able to skate 16:06 after leaving Tuesday’s game early.
-Chicago is 6-1-1 this month with Oduya in the lineup.
-Bolland’s goal was second only to Brent Sutter’s tally eight seconds into a game with Vancouver on February 5, 1995.