By Brad Vandenberk
After an abysmal game in Detroit on Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks returned home Sunday night to play division rival Dallas Stars. The final period saw an explosion of goals on route to a 6-2 victory behind 6 different Hawks players adding a multi-point night.
The new lines constructed by Coach Q combined for 13 points and a power play goal from Brent Seabrook. Corey Crawford stood strong for the home team including surrendering 2 Dallas goals within 39 seconds. Kari Lehtonen was the victim to all 6 Blackhawk goals. Dan Carcillo, Michal Rozsival and newly called up Joakim Nordstrom were inserted into the lineup with Jeremy Morin and Dave Rundblad watching from above.
Two scary moments during the game when Trevor VanRiemsdyk was hit in the left leg with a shot and left halfway through the first period, not returning. Jonathan Toews almost lost an ear when Tyler Seguin was falling to the ice getting his skate up on captain serious, just kicking his helmet. Coach Q stated that TVR could be out “awhile.”
Just as the Stars open the period with a quality scoring chance at one end of the ice, the Hawks come down the other end and take the early lead. Brad Richards makes a nice play off the boards to Kris Versteeg, he finds a streaking Patrick Kane who walks in on a 2 on 1 with Duncan Keith. Keith finishes the play into a wide open cage 1-0. 3 minutes later the Stars convert when Curtis McKenzie scoring his first career NHL goal with a nice re direct over Crawford 1-1. 39 seconds later the Stars strike again. Shawn Horcoff is left open at the side of the net and cleans up a rebound 2-1. The Hawks defensive woes start to struggle. Trevor Daley hammers a clapper off Trevor VanRiemsdyk, who heads for the dressing room in a lot of discomfort. Andrew Shaw and Antoine Roussel get the gloves off with Shaw landing the better amount of blows. Daley’s karma comes back to haunt him as he gets called for slashing. That ensuing power play Brent Seabrook blasts a shot from the point and it deflects off Jamie Benn’s stick and past Lehtonen 2-2. Brandon Saad runs over Ales Hemsky. Richards’s line looks good early and the Hawks end the period tied at 2 and leading in shots 16-10.
As the teams took the ice for the second period, it was announced that TVR would not be returning this evening suffering a lower body injury. Just as they say the word injury, Seabrook falls awkwardly with some speed, slamming against the boards. He crawled around on the ice and missed a few shifts but remained in the game. The Stars are flying in the Hawks zone, but have no fear Crawford is here. He makes a few close range saves keeping the game tied. The Hawks try and change the momentum with both Richards’s line and Toews unit creating multiple chances. Lehtonen remains sharp at the other end. John Klingberg puts the Stars down a man getting called for hooking. Richards had the best chance when he receives a pass from Toews but Lehtonen makes the save. Crawford flashes the leather on Jason Spezza and then makes 2 huge saves with the Stars buzzing. As the period comes to and end Ryan Garbutt gets his stick around Bryan Bickell’s neck and the Hawks will open up the third with 1:51 of power play time. Hawks remain the leader in SOG 24-19.
The power play comes up short but the hawks finally gain the momentum they were looking for putting pucks toward the net with Seabrook unloading a few bombs on Lehtonen. The Stars are being outworked icing the puck any chance they get. Richards finds himself in the slot with a wide open shot, but unselfishly dishes to Kane at the side of the net, he catches Lehtonen out of position and roofs the snap shot 3-2. Seabrook continues his strong game sliding to break up a Stars 2 on 1. Crawford keeps the Hawks up with a great poke check as the Stars try to tie it up. Toews puts the Hawks up 2 as he grabs a Hossa rebound and wraps around his 7th of the season 4-2. Then the flood gates open. Versteeg gets a sweet pass from Richards in the slot and wires it home 5-2. Brandon Saad is the receiver of an unselfish Toews pass on a 2 on 0 putting the Hawks up 6-2. The Stars did get a late power play when Carcillo gets called for a high stick, but the only thing they could do at this stage was put some damage on the Hawks best P.K in the league. They didn’t, and the Hawks are victorious 6-2.
Saad Toews Hossa Keith Seabrook
Versteeg Richards Kane Oduya Hjalmarsson
Bickell Shaw Carcillo VanRiemsdyk Rozsival
Nordstrom Kruger Smith
- Hawks outshot the Stars 46-24.
- Hawks went 1/4 on the power play and the Stars were 0/1.
- Keith led all hawks in TOI with 25:31, next up was Johnny Oduya at 24:02.
- Toews was 52% in the faceoff dot, Richards 42%, Shaw 50%, Kruger 50%
- Kane (1G, 2A), Versteeg (1G, 2A), Richards (2A), Toews (1G, 1A), Saad (1G) Hossa (2A). These 2 lines that Coach put together exploded this game with hopes for more. Seabrook (1PPG) Keith (2A), Rozsival (1A).
- Dan Carcillo played his first game since suffering from a lower body injury. He played 8:40 and put 3 shots on goal. He also received the Hawks only penalty late in the 3rd He will be a welcomed addition on this upcoming Circus road trip. Joakim Nordstrom made a very good 4th line even better adding 12:15 of TOI and some P.K time as well.
- Antti Raanta was assigned back to Rockford early Sunday morning bringing Scott Darling up to back up Crawford. This was just a tactic to get Raanta into a game type situation with a six game road trip on the horizon. Darling did play back to backs this weekend already so the timing couldn’t have been better. He will be recalled before the Hawks embark on their trip.
- Brad Richards was honored during a pre-game ceremony celebrating his 1000th career game. He added 2 assists and had a great performance in front of family and friends.
- TVR will be re-evaluated but Coach Q did say after the game that he would be out a while which means a D man will be recalled before the road trip.
- The annual Circus 6 game road trip is upon us. This trip starts in Western Canada with stops in Calgary (Thursday), Edmonton (Saturday) and Vancouver (Sunday). Then it’s on to Colorado (Wednesday), Anaheim (Friday) and LA (Saturday). This is one of the bests test for this Hawks team who will be playing some tough competition away from the UC.