- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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One of those days happened to be Tuesday for the Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks put 50 shots on goal, the second most by them this season, and held the Dallas Stars to 18 shots on net. But the Blackhawks still found themselves on the losing side of a 4-3 decision at the United Center.
“All in all, I thought we played really well,” said Versteeg, whose team had 85 total shots.
That was basically the same answer Versteeg had when asked whether he thought there was a letdown after the Blackhawks’ 6-1 road trip or if fighting back from a three-goal deficit with three goals in the second period took too much out of them. Versteeg simply thought it was one of those unfavorable nights.
“I thought we carried the play most of the game,” Versteeg said. “If you look at the play, over 50 shots. [Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen] really stood on his head tonight and kept them in it. We played really good.
“Obviously when you get behind the 8-ball at the start, it’s tough coming back. But we showed resilience and came back. We didn’t have the full comeback this time, but obviously we should be happy with the way we played, especially in the second and third [periods].”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville agreed, to an extent.
As positive as the Blackhawks’ play was during the final two periods, Quenneville couldn’t dismiss his team’s slow start.
The Stars had only five shots on goal in the first period, but they were efficient with them. They scored twice on those shots and jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period, when they cashed in on an odd-man rush during a Blackhawks’ line change at 13:47 and later scored a power-play goal at 18:50. The Stars extended their lead to 3-0 with a goal early in the second period.
“We were very generous in the first three goals against us,” Quenneville said. “We had one of those starts where we were trying to get ourselves in the game. Mentally, I don’t think we were sharp on the plays and goals against.
“We worked ourselves back with a heck of a second period, had a decent third period, had some great opportunities to get the equalizer.”
The equalizer never came and the Blackhawks dropped their fifth regulation game of the season.
But Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp, like Versteeg, didn’t take the defeat too hard.
“Being down 3-0 is never fun, not the way you want to start the game. But we showed a lot of character battling back to tie it up, and the building was full of energy,” Sharp said. “It was a lot of fun to be out there.”