Blackhawks' top line again the story in win
November, 10, 2013
By Todd Wills
Special to ESPNChicago.com
Special to ESPNChicago.com
DALLAS -- The Chicago Blackhawks have been winning Stanley Cups because their No. 1 scoring line keeps on producing.
The Blackhawks' top line of Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp combined for eight of Chicago's 14 points in Saturday night's 5-2 victory over the improving Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center.
The Stars have put together a nice foundation of offensive firepower with Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Alex Chiasson. The Blackhawks found themselves having to match that in the first two periods.
Twice Chicago trailed by a goal and twice Sharp set up scores. The first one came when Sharp got the puck to Toews behind the net -- he's a master there -- and Hossa crashed the net unaccounted-for by the Stars' defense and easily scored his first of two goals to tie the game 1-1 in the first period.
AP Photo/Sharon EllmanBlackhawks right wing Marian Hossa scores against Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen in the third for his second goal Saturday in Dallas.
It was vintage work from the top line, which has guided the Blackhawks through a stretch when they have scored at least four goals in three of the past four games. Chicago has tallied seven out of a possible eight points in the standings during that span.
"I think we’re in the right position and we basically know what one or the other two are doing on the ice,” Hossa said, “and we feel like we’re filling the lanes pretty well and getting lots of chances.”
Sharp, who had four assists for his game-high four points, assisted with Patrick Kane on Toews' second-period goal on a scrum in front of Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen to tie the game at 2-2.
The Blackhawks had to kill off five penalties before they finally went on the power play for the first time late in the second period. They took the lead in short order with beautiful work as Sharp and Andrew Shaw set up playoff MVP Kane for the go-ahead goal and 3-2 lead at the 18:15 mark.
"That was a big goal," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We’re 2-2, our penalty kill had a kill there just before that. Basically, it was one of those nights where you look at special teams was the differential and our penalty kill led the charge. It was a great goal for the power play and I thought overall we played a real strong game discounting the penalties we took.”
Hossa made it a two-goal game with 1:41 left in the third -- on a breakaway, once more set up by Sharp.
"It was one of those nights where you try to make the right play and my linemates were putting the puck in the net," Sharp said.