- Jesse Rogers, Chicago Cubs beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Playing hard for 40 minutes usually doesn’t cut in the NHL. The Chicago Blackhawks were reminded of that as they dropped a shocker on Thursday, 3-1, to the Dallas Stars after leading 1-0 through two periods.
It’s the first time this season the Hawks have lost a game in regulation after having a lead at the second intermission while Dallas won for just the third time in 25 games when they’ve trailed after two. That’s why it’s such a hard loss to swallow.
“This is a tough one,” Marian Hossa said afterwards. “We felt like we had a good thing going. It wasn’t pretty but not every [game] is going to be pretty…The third period. It bit us. It was a difficult period for us.”
Hossa was in the middle of the action all night long. He scored the Hawks lone goal and was playing very good hockey -- until that third period. He failed to clear a puck and then a point shot got by him which was tipped past Corey Crawford. It tied the game and gave the Stars all the momentum they needed to score two more.
“We can’t give up that play,” Joel Quenneville said of the Stars' first score. “That’s a goal that can’t happen and they got some momentum off it. From there we weren’t very good.”
The Hawks were simply outplayed in the final 20 minutes. They were outhit and out-chanced. Twenty games remain in the regular season and the Hawks have hit a speed bump after winning four straight games. They played great defensive hockey for two periods, giving up just 10 shots on net. Dallas finished with 25.
“They’re big,” Patrick Sharp said of letting games slip away. “We said all along these games were going to be important. Whether you come off a win or loss that next one is the most important.”
The next one is against playoff-contending Los Angeles, which just traded for top-six forward Jeff Carter. The Hawks are in a dog fight in the Western Conference. They know it and, again, that’s why Thursday’s loss hurts so much.
“You can look and say we gave them away,” Quenneville said of two points in the standings. “We didn’t make them earn them…We didn’t do enough to deserve the win and it was right there in our hands. We let it get away.”
He better not being said that very often in the final 20 games.
•Thursday marked the fourth time this year the Blackhawks were not assessed a penalty in the game. Only seven NHL teams have gone an entire game this season without a trip to the box, and only Toronto (2) has done it more than once.
•The Hawks were outhit 41 to 15 in the game. All but three Stars players were credited with at least one hit.
• After the game Quenneville said it was still undetermined if Jonathan Toews would travel with the team for its weekend road trip to Southern California. Toews has missed two games with an upper-body injury.
“Little mistake. I couldn’t clear the puck. They got a lucky tip,” -Marian Hossa on his failed third-period clearing attempt.
The Hawks were simply outplayed in the final 20 minutes of Thursday's loss.