On Friday night, the Blackhawks held on to beat a young Coyotes team. That victory broke the Hawks first three-game losing streak of the season, but beating a bad team in ugly fashion didn’t resonate well.
Saturday night’s battle in Dallas saw the Hawks getting another struggling team. The veteran Stars have been surprisingly mediocre this year (52 points in 52 games coming into Saturday), but have never been easy for the Blackhawks.
The first period was fast and even. Chicago out-shot Dallas 11-10 in spite of the Hawks needing to kill two penalties.
Dallas came out firing in the second and took an early 1-0 lead. Eight seconds into the period early. Radek Faksa beat Corey Crawford for his eighth of the season and Chicago was chasing again.
But the Blackhawks answered the bell from that point on in the second period. Ryan Hartman tied the game with a pretty goal from the doorstep 6:20 into the second.
Jordin Tootoo dropped the gloves with Antoine Roussel 14 seconds after the Hartman goal and did a good job handling the bigger Stars forward. He emphatically wiped his hands after dropping a bloodied Roussel to the ice with a left.
Two minutes later, Gustav Forsling unloaded from the point and the Hawks were leading 2-1.
The Hawks out-shot the Stars 17-12 in the second period and took a lead into the third period.
Dallas got another early period goal to start the third when Jamie Benn made a pretty play around Niklas Hjalmarsson to tie the game 40 seconds in.
The Stars took a 3-2 lead at 9:24 when Forsling made a gorgeous pass to… Tyler Seguin, who was able to rip a shot through Crawford for a one-goal lead.
Chicago responded quickly, though. Artem Anisimov found Patrick Kane 35 seconds after the Seguin goal and the game was tied once again.
In the six minutes that followed the Kane goal, both teams got a power play and both goaltenders made a few terrific saves. But almost 16 minutes into the third, Dallas got too physical in front of their net and it cost them.
Anisimov attacked the net and got absolutely buried by Esa Lindell. Unfortunately for Dallas, nobody paid attention to Trevor van Riemsdyk, who appropriately trailed on the play. TvR put home the easy rebound as almost every Stars player on the ice stood and watched and Chicago had a 4-3 lead with four minutes left in regulation.
With 100 seconds left in regulation and still trailing, the Stars pulled Kari Lehtonen. A big rebound off Crawford found Jamie Benn all alone with a wide open cage in front of him. But Hartman laid out in front of the shot and got a stick on the attempt to keep the Hawks up one.
As Dallas scrambled to find an equalizer, Jamie Benn got caught tripping Artemi Panarin and was sent to the box with 63 seconds left in regulation. The Hawks were happy to pass the puck around while enjoying the advantage, and a big shot by Marian Hossa sailed wide of the cage. But Chicago was happy to extend the lead to 5-3 as Jonathan Toews scored into the empty net with 0.9 seconds left in the contest.
After going down 3-2, the Blackhawks scored three unanswered to run away with a big Central Division win.
The win is the 202nd regular season victory for Crawford as a member of the Blackhawks, moving him past Ed Belfour into third all-time with the franchise. He earned the two points on Saturday night, stopping 31 of 34.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) February 5, 2017
Dennis Rasmussen took the most faceoffs for Chicago, winning eight of 19 in the game. Toews won nine of 17 and Anisimov won four of 13. Tanner Kero won five of seven.
Hartman, Forsling, Kane and Niklas Hjalmarsson led the Hawks with four shots on goal each. Hjalmarsson also had a team-high four blocked shots.
Anisimov and Hossa were the only Blackhawks to have a two-point night; both had two assists in the game, leading an offense that saw 12 different skaters pick up a point in the game.
Tootoo served five minutes in the penalty box, skated 5:40 and had zero points. But he kicked Roussel’s ass, so the night was a good one for 22 in white.