The banged up Dallas Stars came into the United Center to face a Blackhawks team that has been struggling offensively. Chicago was 2-2-1 in December with only two goals combined goals scored in their three losses.
As was the case against the Arizona Coyotes, the Hawks took advantage of a bad defensive team and chalked up two points on home ice Sunday evening.
The first period saw a lot of rubber on net but no dice for either side. The Hawks out-shot the Stars 10-9 in the first but failed to convert on their first power play of the evening. Scott Darling had a strong performance to open the game again; he’s waited patiently for the offense in front of him to score more than once since Corey Crawford went on IR.
In the second period, Devin Shore scored 85 seconds in to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.
But the lead would only last 52 seconds.
Ryan Hartman set up Marian Hossa, who unloaded a shot that hit Kari Lehtonen in the chest… and trickled through his pads and into the net to tie the game. The goal is already Hossa’s 15th of the 2016-17 campaign.
Hartman was back in the middle of the action eight minutes later. He finished serving a minor penalty, came out of the box and attacked the net (undressing former Rockford teammate Stephen Johns on his way). Artem Anisimov was trailing the play and picked up the rebound goal for his 12th of the season. Somehow, Hartman hasn’t been credited with an assist on the play.
In the third, Chicago got a power play and actually converted. The goal, Artemi Panarin’s 11th of the year, was a beauty.
Once the Blackhawks took a two-goal lead, Dallas didn’t generate many quality scoring chances and Darling was on point all night. Chicago’s goaltender stopped 23 of 24 in the victory, while Lehtonen made 24 saves in defeat.
The young Blackhawks, some of whom have struggled recently, had an improved night with Hartman leading the way. Hartman led the Hawks in takeaways (three) and shots on net (four) with an assist and one hit in 16:10 of ice time.
Vinnie Hinostroza also picked up an assist on Hossa’s goal and won five of eight faceoffs. Dennis Rasmussen won five of ten at the dot and blocked two shots in 15:06 on the ice, and Tyler Motte got three shots on net as he tries to get back in the box score after not having a point in 12 contests.
Michal Kempny was a healthy scratch again, with Brent Seabrook and Jonathan Toews out of the lineup with injuries. Toews did skate earlier on Sunday and is hoping to return soon. Gustav Forsling skated only 10:58 and had a couple rough shifts that Darling covered up.
Chicago’s penalty kill was perfect and the one power play goal provided insurance in the third period.
The Blackhawks are on the road for the next week, starting at Madison Square Garden against the Rangers on Tuesday night.
Dallas is now 3-6-1 in their last ten and are 12 points behind the Blackhawks in the Central Division.