Chicago Blackhawks: Dallas Stars
The NHL announced the home openers for all 30 teams Saturday. The league will reveal its full schedule Sunday.
The Blackhawks had the seventh-best regular-season record in the NHL last season by going 46-21-15 with 107 points. They were 27-7-7 at home and 19-14-8 on the road. They were eliminated in the Western Conference finals by the Los Angeles Kings, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.
CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Dallas Stars’ 4-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Tuesday.
How it happened: The Blackhawks outshot the Stars 50-18 on net, but the Stars made the most of their opportunities. The Stars’ Antoine Roussel broke a 3-3 tie at 3:01 of the third period on a penalty shot. The Stars built a 2-0 lead after the first period, behind goals by Valeri Nichushkin and Alex Chiasson. They went ahead 3-0 when Erik Cole scored at 3:07 of the second period. The Blackhawks battled back with three consecutive goals. Patrick Sharp put the Blackhawks on the board with a power-play goal at 9:39 of the second period. Nick Leddy cut the Stars’ lead to one with a goal at 16:08, and Johnny Oduya tied the game with a goal 65 seconds later.
What it means: The Blackhawks had their six-game winning streak snapped. It was the Blackhawks’ first contest at home after a seven-game road trip, during which they went 6-1-0. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had an assist on Sharp’s goal and extended his assists streak to eight games. He has 23 assists on the season. Patrick Kane kept pace with the league’s points leaders and pushed his total to 32 with two assists on Tuesday. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford hadn’t allowed more than one goal in his previous three starts. The Blackhawks defeated the Stars 2-1 in an 11-round shootout in their last meeting on Nov. 29. The Blackhawks are now 20-5-4 on the season.
Player of the game: Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen was on top of his game and made 47 saves.
Stat of the game: The Stars scored their first three goals off nine shots on net.
What’s next: The Blackhawks return to the road and play the Minnesota Wild on Thursday. The Blackhawks will then host the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
The Blackhawks can handle being at the back end of a seven-game road trip, even against one of the fastest opponents in the league. They can change the momentum of a game with their determination and talent, and they can survive 11 rounds of a shootout, too.
"I had a lot of confidence in Ben," Quenneville said with a smile.
Quenneville has a lot of confidence in his team. The Blackhawks are at a league-best 42 points after grabbing their fifth win in six games on a 12-day trip that will conclude Saturday in Phoenix.
Chicago is a blistering 10-3-1 on the road. The Blackhawks have built that record by overcoming three 1-0 third-period deficits on this trip, the latest Friday night.
Patrick Sharp scored the equalizer at 7:21 of the third period to give the Blackhawks a lift after the well-rested Stars, in the second game of a three-game homestand, outplayed Chicago for the first two periods. The Stars were all over the place, and goalie Corey Crawford had to be perfect after gift-wrapping a goal to Rich Peverley late in the first period.
"The pace was incredible," Quenneville said. "That first period was a tremendous pace. [The Stars] work hard, and they have a lot of speed on you. They keep pressure on you. I thought we hung in there well. Crawford was rock-solid and great in the shootout as well. It was one of those games. It was tight and we had to do things quickly, and it’s pretty remarkable that we’ve had three games in the last four where it was 1-0 going into the third and we found a way to win. We showed great character tonight."
Crawford kept the Blackhawks in the game by stopping Alex Chiasson on a penalty shot just more than two minutes into the second period with Chicago already down 1-0. Chiasson hit the left post, making Crawford a perfect 8-for-8 on penalty shots for his career.
"We work on it sometimes in practice," Crawford said. "It’s a key situation in the game. It’s important if we go down by two goals. I was just trying to come up with a save and keep our team in it."
Crawford again had to be perfect in the shootout after Peverley kept the Stars alive with a wrist shot that got past the Blackhawks goalie in the third round.
Crawford and Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped every shot for the next seven rounds, and when Dallas rookie Valeri Nichushkin missed to start the 11th round, that gave Smith a chance to be the hero and get the Blackhawks to Phoenix with a shootout win.
Smith had watched how his teammates tried to beat Lehtonen low during the shootout, playing to the Dallas goalie’s strength. So Smith decided to go up high, and he was able to get a wrist shot up over Lehtonen’s glove and shoulder for the game winner.
"I was watching the guys," Smith said. “I was hoping I didn’t have to go, but I wanted to go. I was hoping it didn’t get to that point. To get the opportunity and Crawford came up with the big save, many big saves. To be able to bury that was nice."
Special to ESPNChicago.com
DALLAS -- The Chicago Blackhawks earned a 2-1 shootout win over the Dallas Stars on Friday at American Airlines Center.
How it happened: The Blackhawks were outplayed by the up-and-coming Stars for the first two periods, but Patrick Sharp scored the equalizer at the 7:21 mark of the third period to tie the game at one. The game remained tied headed to the 11th round of a shootout, in which Ben Smith ended it for the Blackhawks with a goal. Corey Crawford stopped 28 of 29 shots for Chicago. Crawford did help the Stars score their goal late in the first period, losing the puck to Dallas center Shawn Horcoff behind the net. Horcoff made a nifty pass to Rich Peverley, who scored his fifth goal of the season for the Stars. Crawford redeemed himself with seconds left in overtime by stopping two shots, including a backhand at the front of the crease.
What it means: The Blackhawks are 5-1-0 on their seven-game road trip.
Player of the game: Sharp has been one of Chicago’s best players in two games in Dallas, adding a goal to the four assists he had at the American Airlines Center in a 5-2 victory over the Stars on Nov. 9. Sharp has points in seven of his past 11 games.
Stat of the game: Patrick Kane had a streak of 12 straight games with a point snapped on Friday night. Kane nearly scored the game winner in overtime but was robbed on a glove save by Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. Kane had eight goals and nine assists during the streak.
What’s next: The Blackhawks will finish off their sixth back-to-back situation on Saturday night at Phoenix, completing a seven-game, 12-day road trip in the process. The Blackhawks are 4-0-1 in the second of back-to-back games.
Special to ESPNChicago.com
How it happened: The Blackhawks killed off five penalties in the first two periods before going on their first power play of the game and capitalizing with some nifty passing for a 3-2 lead on the 10th goal of the season by Patrick Kane late in the second period. Jonathan Toews had his ninth goal of the season and Marian Hossa his seventh to answer Dallas goals and tie the game 2-2. Hossa and Niklas Hjalmarsson put the game away in the final two minutes with goals. Patrick Sharp assisted on four Chicago's five goals. Corey Crawford stopped 33 shots as the Stars and Blackhawks produced end-to-end action in the final 20 minutes.
What it means: The Blackhawks are 4-0 in the first game of back-to-backs this season. They will try to improve to 3-0-1 in the second half of back-to-backs on Sunday against the Edmonton Oilers at the United Center.
Player of the game: Hossa put the game away with his second goal on a breakaway with 1:41 left as he beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.
Stat of the game: The Blackhawks were last in the NHL in killing penalties coming into Saturday night, but they prevented the Stars from scoring on five power plays.
What’s next: The Blackhawks will host the Oilers at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in the first game of a two-game homestand.
The Blackhawks could still play one of seven teams in the first round. With one week remaining in the regular season, the San Jose Sharks, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, Detroit Red Wings, Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes are all potential opening-round opponents for the Blackhawks.
Here's a closer look at all seven potential first-round opponents with their records, ROW (regulation + overtime wins, which is used as a tiebreaker), remaining games and best-and-worst-case scenarios.
San Jose, 24-14-17, 55 points (currently fifth place): 16 ROW, 3 games remaining (vs. Dallas on Tuesday, at Phoenix on Wednesday, at Los Angeles on Saturday), best case (61 points, fourth place), worst case (55 points, out of the playoffs)
St. Louis, 26-17-2, 54 points (currently sixth place): 21 ROW, 3 games remaining (vs. Colorado on Tuesday, vs. Calgary on Thursday, vs. Blackhawks on Saturday), best case (60 points, fourth place), worst case (54 points, out of the playoffs)
Minnesota, 24-18-3, 51 points (currently seventh place): 20 ROW, three games remaining (vs. Los Angeles on Tuesday, vs. Edmonton Friday, at Colorado on Saturday), best case (57 points, win the Northwest Division, third place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)
Columbus, 22-7-7, 51 points (currently eighth place): 17 ROW, two games remaining (at Dallas on Thursday, vs. Nashville on Saturday), best case (55 points, fifth place), worst case (51 points, out of the playoffs)
Detroit, 20-16-8, 48 points: 18 ROW, four games remaining (vs. Phoenix on Monday, vs. Los Angeles on Wednesday, vs. Nashville on Thursday, at Dallas on Saturday), best case (56 points, fifth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)
Dallas, 22-19-4, 48 points: 20 ROW, three games remaining (at San Jose on Tuesday, vs. Columbus on Thursday, vs. Detroit on Saturday), best case (54 points, sixth place), worst case (48 points, out of the playoffs)
Phoenix, 19-17-8, 46 points: 15 ROW, four games remaining (at Detroit on Monday, vs. San Jose on Wednesday, vs. Colorado on Friday, at Anaheim on Saturday), best case (54 points, seventh place), worst case (46 points, out of the playoffs)
Just last month, the Blackhawks dropped three of four games -- twice to the Anaheim Ducks and once to the Los Angeles Kings -- due to their play in the third period. Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane went as far as calling it the team's first adversity of the season.
The Blackhawks guaranteed the issue would be addressed and addressed it has been. In their last six games, all wins, the Blackhawks have outscored their opponents 8-2 in the third period.
On Monday, the Blackhawks were tested and responded again in the third period. The Dallas Stars evened Monday's game at 2-2 with a goal at 3:07 of third period. One minute and 24 seconds later, the Blackhawks answered with a goal from Andrew Shaw and tacked on two more goals on their way to a 5-2 win.
CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars at the United Center on Monday:
How it happened: The Blackhawks allowed an early goal in the third period to tie the game at 2-2, but they bounced back with three unanswered goals in the period to pull out the win. Andrew Shaw gave the Blackhawks a 3-2 advantage at 4:31, and Niklas Hjalmarsson provided another goal at 7:46. Marian Hossa, who had three points in the game, scored an empty-netter in the final minute. Jamie Benn scored both goals for the Stars. Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg accounted for the Blackhawks' first two goals. Toews now leads the Blackhawks with 21 goals. Blackhawks goaltender Ray Emery made 15 saves and improved to 16-1-0 on the season. The Blackhawks failed on four power-play chances and haven't scored a power-play goal since March 29.
Player of the game: Shaw scored his second game-winner of the year. He also had an assist in Monday's win and now has 15 points on the season.
What it means: The Blackhawks extended their winning streak to six games while snapping the Stars' five-game winning streak. The Blackhawks are also on an eight-game points streak. They improved to 33-5-4 with an NHL-best 70 points. The Stars fell to 21-18-3 with 45 points and still trail the Detroit Red Wings by two points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks defeated the Stars in all three games this season.
What's next: The Blackhawks continue their three-game home stand with the Nashville Predators on Friday and the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday.
DALLAS -- Here’s on overview of the Chicago Blackhawks’ 8-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night at the American Airlines Center.
How it happened: The Blackhawks dominated right from the start, outshooting the Stars 11-3 in the first period and receiving two goals from Jonathan Toews just 1:35 apart en route to a 3-0 lead. Nick Leddy notched a goal and an assist in the period, as well. Two goals from Marian Hossa in the second period, along with one from Johnny Oduya for the second straight game, pushed the lead to 6-0 entering the final period. Goals from Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane in the third made this the biggest offensive output of the season, as eight different players earned multiple points. Goaltender Corey Crawford made 18 saves, including just eight through the first two periods, to improve his record to 13-2-3.
Player of the game: Toews scored the first two goals in rapid succession to quickly establish Chicago’s dominance. With an assist on Hossa’s second goal, Toews now has 11 points (six goals, five assists) in his past nine outings.
What it means: After a slight lull when they lost twice in a row in regulation and needed a shootout to defeat Columbus on Thursday, the Blackhawks looked as good as or better than at any point during their record 24-game point streak to open the season. Chicago remains four points ahead of Anaheim for the NHL lead with 49 points (23-2-3).
What’s next: The Blackhawks return to Denver, where their record 24-game point streak ended on March 8, to battle the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.
Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 overtime road win against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Thursday:
How it happened: Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane delivered a no-look backhanded pass to Marian Hossa, who one-timed it into the net from the right circle for the game winner in OT. The Blackhawks scored all three of their goals on the power play. The Hawks were trailing 2-1 late into the third period, until Jonathan Toews tied the game with a power-play goal with 5:53 remaining. Patrick Sharp accounted for the other power-play goal in the second period. Before the Hawks’ late magic, they had a tough time beating Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen. He made 38 saves in the loss. Hawks goalie Corey Crawford improved to 3-0 and came up with a key save on a penalty shot in the second period. Defenseman Duncan Keith also saved a goal with a quick-thinking maneuver, when he stopped a puck that had slipped past Crawford and was sliding into the net at the end of the second period.
Player of the game: Hossa was quiet in the Blackhawks’ last win against the St. Louis Blues, but he emerged at just the right time Thursday. He already has five goals on the young season.
What it means: The Blackhawks improved to 4-0 for the first time since the 1972-73 season. The Blackhawks’ longest winning streak to begin a season is five games, which came during the 1971-72 season. Unlike their first three wins, the Blackhawks had to battle from behind for their win in Dallas. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill and power play looked sharp again -- a good sign for a team that struggled in both areas last season.
What’s next: The Blackhawks remain on the road and will face the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. Seven of their next eight games are on the road.
Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the Nashville Predators wasn’t devastating in terms of the Hawks making the playoffs, but it was a blow in terms of moving up from the No. 6 seed. The Predators are now four points ahead of the Hawks while Detroit remains three points ahead. Nashville took over the No. 4 seed with their win over Chicago.
So the Hawks remain firmly as the No. 6 seed, five points ahead of No. 7 Phoenix, who lost 4-0 to St. Louis on Sunday. The Hawks also have a game in hand and are six points ahead of ninth-place San Jose. If the playoffs started today Chicago would open on the road against the No. 3 seed Dallas Stars. The Hawks have five more points than Dallas, but as the Pacific Division leader the Stars get home ice advantage.
Monday is a busy day for the Western Conference playoff picture. The Detroit Red Wings have played one fewer game than the Hawks and they host the Columbus Blue Jackets, the cellar dweller of the West.
Three Pacific teams vying for the playoffs are in action as Dallas plays in Calgary, Los Angeles is in Vancouver and San Jose hosts Colorado. Four teams in that division are separated by a single point, meaning if the playoffs opened tomorrow the No. 6 seeded Hawks could have a different opponent than they would as of today. Count on that kind of back-and-forth for the final two weeks of the season.
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.
How it happened: The Hawks gave up three third-period goals to a team that was 2-22 when trailing after two periods. The Hawks led 1-0 thanks to a Marian Hossa score in the second after a nice individual play by Michael Frolik to steal the puck and go to the net. But after giving up just 10 shots through two periods, the Hawks were badly outworked in the third. Dallas got two shots through from the point with tip-ins in front. Hossa was up near the point on both scores and played it lazy on the first tally. The final goal came after Nick Leddy was burned by Michael Ryder who stopped quickly sending Leddy to the ice. The Hawks had little offense in the third.
What it means: It’s a shocking home loss after the Hawks played well for 40 minutes. Dallas had little in the way of scoring chances in the first two periods, but the Hawks relaxed in the third while the Stars worked harder. Point shots making it through to the net continued to be an Achilles’ heel for them as forwards aren’t in all shooting lanes though it was better in the winning streak, which ended at four. Overall, it’s a reminder working hard is needed for 60 minutes and nothing less. On offense, the third period was an easy one for goalie Richard Bachman who only faced five shots in the final 20 minutes.
What’s next: The Hawks hit the road for their final two games on the West Coast this season. They’ll take on Los Angeles on Saturday and Anaheim on Sunday.