By Jon Fromi
The Chicago Blackhawks dropped a wild one to Dallas Sunday night. The visiting Stars pulled away with three goals in the third period to break open a back and forth game. The Hawks found themselves on the short end of a 6-3 decision for their second straight loss.
First Period-The Hawks did not want for opportunities in the early going, firing 11 shots on Kari Lehtonen in the first six and a half minutes. The first goal, however, belonged to Tyler Seguin, who scored on the Stars fifth shot.
The goal came off a faceoff win by Jamie Benn over Marcus Kruger in the Chicago zone. The puck got to Seguin in the slot and his shot beat Corey Crawford at 6:33 in the opening period.
The Hawks were on their heels in the aftermath of Seguin’s goal. Brandon Saad was called for a high stick on Seguin at the 6:43 mark and Chicago had to withstand two minutes of Dallas power play time.
The Blackhawks got a chance to even the score 9:17 into the period when Ryan Garbutt was guilty of hooking Patrick Kane as he went to the net. Jonathan Toews nearly scored on a redirect but it was Dallas who came up with the shorthanded goal.
Duncan Keith made a bad pass that wound up on the stick of Cody Eakin. Eakin backhanded a quick pass to Benn to start an odd man rush. Benn got Crawford to commit and hit Eakin coming down the left side for the goal. With 10:49 gone in the opening frame, the Hawks found themselves down 2-0.
Chicago cut into the Stars advantage soon after. Bryan Bickell found Brent Seabrook jumping into the action in the slot. The shot caromed off Lehtonen’s pads right to a waiting Kane at the left post. The put back came at the 12:22 mark and made it 2-1 Dallas.
Jordie Benn tried to send Marian Hossa’s stick into the stands and was whistled for interference in front of the Stars net 15:13 into the period. Eakin very nearly picked up his second shorty of the night after Garbutt drove to the net. Crawford stopped Garbutt’s attempt as well as Eakin’s rebound attempt.
The power play delivered with three minutes to go in the period. Sharp got a shot on net which came out to Saad on the right post aided by a screen by Bickell. Saad struck gold with the put back to tie the game at two goals apiece.
The Stars came up with a late goal to re-take the lead. Vernon Fiddler gained control of the puck after John Klingberg’s shot struck the left post. Fiddler got the rebound and deposited the puck in the open net. The goal came with 49 seconds left and Chicago skated to the locker room down 3-2.
Second Period-Dallas went at the Hawks to start the period, putting together a dominant opening shift. Fortunately, Crawford kept them out of the net.
Lehtonen left a couple of long rebounds in the next few minutes off of shots by Joakim Nordstrom and Johnny Oduya but there weren’t Hawks around to follow up on them. Ben Smith got to the left post with a backhand attempt but Lehtonen sent it to the corner with his blocker.
Saad tied the game 7:13into the period off a less than perfect pass from Jonathan Toews. The puck went off Saad’s skate but Saad was able to get it on his stick in the slot, sending a spinning shot inside the left post and into the net to pull Chicago even.
The Stars came down with numbers seconds later and were denied by an incredible effort on Crawford’s part to stop shots by Colton Sceviour and Seguin from point-blank range.
Near the midway point of the period, Sharp took offense to big hit by Shawn Horcuff and the two dropped the gloves in the corner of the Dallas zone. A couple of minutes later, Garbutt grabbed the stick of Michael Rozsival and the Hawks went on another power play. Lehtonen denied an early pair of shots and the Dallas PK took care of the rest of the man advantage.
With 2:44 to play in the period, Lehtonen made a big stop on a backhand attempt by Hossa. Thirty seconds later he kept a Smith deflection and a shot by Teuvo Teravainen from breaking the tie. Chicago swarmed the crease a couple of times in the waning seconds to no avail. The horn signaled the end of 40 minutes with the score 3-3.
Third Period-Oduya was sent to the box for tripping 1:22 into the final frame. Seguin got a pass through to Eakin at the right post and the Stars took a 4-3 lead 2:58 into the third period.
Crawford made several big stops as the period approached the halfway mark to keep the deficit to a single goal. With 9:01 left, however, Jason Spezza came up the ice with Eric Cole to his left on a 2-on-1. Rozsival laid out but Spezza feathered a pass over his stick and Cole finished the play, putting Chicago down 5-3.
The Stars continued to go at Chicago, limiting the Hawks to a pair of shots in the first 13 minutes of the period. With 4:03 remaining, Lehtonen snuffed a redirect attempt by Andrew Shaw to foil another scoring chance.
Crawford went to the bench with 2:47 left as Joel Quennville tried to make a game of it late. Even with six skaters, the Hawks couldn’t generate much in the way of offense. Horcuff found the empty net with a minute left to close out the contest.
Three Stars-Seguin (third), Saad (second), Eakin (first)
-The Hawks went for the home run pass late in the first and got burned. Kane was open just short of the Stars blue line but the pass by was picked off and led to the sequence that ended with Fiddler denting the net.
-The passing really left a lot to be desired. It led to lost opportunities as well as goals at the other end of the ice.
-Crawford gave up five goals on the night but I find it hard to hang the loss on him. It seemed like he was fighting off prime scoring chances throughout the game.
-Dallas came at the Blackhawks with speed in the third period and Chicago just couldn’t answer the bell against a team playing the second half of a back-to-back.
–Pat Foley made it a point to tell viewers not to worry about another home loss. The fact remains that Chicago is 1-3 in its last four games at United Center. The Blackhawks are 2-4 in their last six games. I guess we can hope this team finds some kind of rhythm on its upcoming road trip.
-Last home game for a couple of weeks as the Hawks host Phoenix Tuesday night. Puck drops at 7:30 p.m.