By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks rallied from a third-period deficit once again, coming back in Dallas to force a shootout Friday night. It took eleven shooters, but Ben Smith provided the margin of victory as the Hawks prevailed 2-1.
First Period-Duncan Keith came up with a steal and found Patrick Kane coming out of the Hawks zone. Kane took the puck up the ice and got off a shot that was knocked away by Kari Lehtonen two minutes into the game.
The Stars goalie denied Jonathan Toews a few minutes later and stopped a one-timer by Brent Seabrook near the five-minute mark. At the other end of the ice, Corey Crawford made five saves, including stops on Ray Whitney and Ryan Garbutt in the first six minutes.
Dallas generated some offense off of a couple of Blackhawks turnovers, though Crawford came up with the saves. Jamie Benn made a nice move to get by Niklas Hjalmarsson but Crawford snuffed out the backhand attempt at the 12:53 mark.
Smith made a great individual effort to get to a loose puck but couldn’t quite finish the play. Moments later, the Stars broke the scoreless tie after Crawford mishandled a puck that came back to him at the left post.
Crawford seemed to change his mind about where to send the puck and Shawn Horcoff was able to gain control. Rich Peverley received the centering pass and easily knocked in the game’s first goal 16:40 into the opening period. The period ended with the Stars leading 1-0.
Second Period-In the third minute, Keith’s pass was picked off by Alex Chiasson, who made a beeline for the Hawks net. Seabrook was called for hooking and Chiasson was awarded a penalty shot. The attempt clanged off the left post and the Dallas lead remained at one goal.
Seabrook centered Hossa in the seventh minute but the one-timer from the doorstep was turned away by Lehtonen. The Stars continued to get good looks at the goal but Crawford held Dallas at bay, gloving a Garbutt one-timer from the right circle midway through the period.
Peverley tripped Kane coming out of the Chicago zone with 8:29 left to give the Hawks the game’s first power play. The Stars had a 2-on-1 in their first shorthanded minute. Coming back down the ice, Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas was injured when his skate seemed to get caught in the ice. When play resumed, the Hawks failed to register a shot in the final 57 seconds of the power play.
A minute later, Hjalmarsson tripped Benn and the Hawks were now down a man for two minutes. Crawford and the penalty kill unit prevented Dallas from extending the lead.
At the 16:55 mark, Patrick Sharp and Trevor Daley were whistled for coincidental minors. Neither team could take advantage of the 4-on-4 time. The period would end with the Stars still up 1-0.
Third Period-It took almost eight minutes, but Chicago was able to tie the game on a tip in by Sharp after Keith kept the puck in the Stars zone. Keith got the puck to the net, where Sharp got his stick on it to guide it past Lehtonen 7:21 into the final period.
Kane had the puck on his stick in the 11th minute coming up the right side but his backhand attempt didn’t get through. Seconds later, Benn’s point-blank attempt was absorbed by Crawford.
As regulation time began to run out, both goalies fended off numerous scoring attempts. With 3:16 left, Whitney wound up and sent a laser from the left circle that Crawford held. Kane found himself at the right post thanks to a feed from Kris Versteeg in the final minute but was not able to squeeze the puck past Lehtonen. Regulation ended with the puck behind the Chicago net and the teams were headed to extra time.
Overtime-Lehtonen fought off a wrist shot from Kane on the Hawks first shift. Seabrook walked the puck to the net in the fourth minute but lost the handle. Cody Eakin swiped the puck from Brandon Saad in the neutral zone but the Stars were offside coming into the Hawks zone. Crawford made a pair of saves on Alex Goligoski and Chiasson as the clock expired with the score still knotted 1-1.
Shootout-Jamie Benn went wide and was stopped by Crawford’s right pad. Toews was denied the five-hole by Lehtonen. Tyler Seguin’s shot was gloved by Crawford. Sharp went backhand to forehand over the glove of Lehtonen.
Peverley went to the left post and scored past Crawford’s glove. Kane was stopped by a pad save. Chiasson’s backhand attempt was sticked away. Brandon Pirri whiffed after stickhandling.
Horcoff’s shot went off Crawford’s blocker. Hossa was turned away by Lehtonen’s right pad. Whitney was denied the five-hole. Saad had Lehtonen down but his shot was stopped. Eakin and Versteeg both shot into the right pad of the two goalies.
Garbutt was stopped by Crawford. Michal Handzus sent a shot off the crossbar. Vernon Fiddler backhanded his attempt off the right post. Lehtonen gloved Andrew Shaw’s attempt. Jordie Benn lost the handle on his attempt. Marcus Kruger put his shot into Lehtonen’s pads.
Valeri Nichushkin was stopped via Crawford’s glove before Smith came in fast and ended the contest over Lehtonen’s glove.
Three Stars-Lehtonen (third), Sharp (second), Crawford (first)
-Crawford won his 100th career game and he sure earned it, stopping 28 or 29 shots by Dallas and 10 of 11 shootout attempts. Plus he kept Chiasson out of the net on the second-period penalty shot. It’s safe to say that Crawford won this game for the Hawks.
-Dallas was 7-0 this season in games that they led after 40 minutes, making it all the sweeter that the Hawks found a way to pull out two points.
-Word is that Robidas has a leg fracture. That is a tough injury for a veteran and the Stars alternate captain.
-Patrick Kane’s 12-game scoring streak came to an end, though he did take a fist in the face from Antoine Roussel for his trouble. Kane was slow to get up following the encounter.
-Chicago was outshot (29-26), outhit (27-23) and outdrawn (29-25) but still came out on top Friday.
-I’m not sure I’ve mentioned this yet, but the Stars uniform change is one of the best I’ve seen in recent years. Love the colors, love the old-school look. All that’s missing is the big yellow N.
-All in all, a pretty entertaining game that results in Chicago moving to 5-1 on the Circus Trip. I’m not sure we could have expected much better heading into Saturday’s game in Phoenix.