Both teams brought a five-game winning streak into the United Center on Monday night. But a dominant third period extended the Blackhawks streak, and pushed the Stars to the brink of an early summer.
Offense came from all over the Hawks’ lineup, providing a final box score that has become commonplace for Chicago this season.
Marian Hossa led the way for Chicago, playing his best game since returning from a shoulder injury. He was credited with an empty net goal, two assists, two takeaways, one hit and one blocked shot in the game.
But important goals once again came from secondary scorers. Viktor Stalberg and Andrew Shaw each scored their ninth goal of the season, with Shaw providing the game-winner less than 90 seconds after Jamie Benn tied the game early in the third. Shaw was also credited with a team-leading four hits.
Benn scored both of Dallas’ goals in the game, and was really the only player to challenge the Hawks defense. Even though he led the Stars’ with both goals, he was still minus-two for the night.
For the Hawks, Hossa, Shaw and Jonathan Toews all had multi-point games. Toews scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season, was credited with two takeaways and won eight of 18 faceoffs.
Surprisingly, the Blackhawks were led at the dot by a dominant…. Dave Bolland? Bolland won 15 of 19 faceoffs in what was his best faceoff performance in a long time.
The hallmark of this late season stretch has been fantastic team defense by the Blackhawks, and Monday night was no different.
Ray Emery allowed only two goals, and only faced 18 shots against a Stars team that had scored 20 in their five previous games. The Hawks blocked 11 shots in the game, led by two each from Patrick Kane, Michal Rozsival and Brent Seabrook. Emery is now 16-1-0 this season.
Chicago’s penalty kill continued it’s strong play as well, handling the only powerplay for the Stars easily.
Unfortunately, the Hawks’ powerplay continues to be a hot mess. At one point, coach Joel Quennville rolled a group of Michal Rozsival, Michael Frolik, Marcus Kruger, Nick Leddy and Rozsival out for the start of a powerplay. Of course, that didn’t work; nothing has on that unit lately. The Hawks squandered all four of their advantages in the game.
As has been the trend, the lack of producing anything on the powerplay didn’t impact the Hawks at all. After Benn tied the game at two, Chicago put two goals on the board in 4:39 to run away from Dallas.
In the wake of the tragedy in Boston, Chicago’s fans once again showed why they’re the class of the NHL. After respectfully observing a moment of silence, the National Anthem was as good as it gets.