When Corey Crawford went down against San Jose on Sunday, Cam Ward stood up in the dressing room and told his teammates to get their collective crap together and play like professionals.
In the two games since then, Ward has led by example.
And the offense has followed.
Alex DeBrincat scored the first goal of the game, his 15th of the season, just 72 seconds into the game to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
Dylan Sikura and David Kampf picked up assists on the DeBrincat goal.
The Hawks got a power play 16 minutes later and Erik Gustafsson stayed hot, scoring his eighth of the year to extend the lead to two.
Dallas out-shot the Hawks 14-12 in the first period but Ward was playing well again. Chicago carried a lead into the second period.
Most shocking: the Blackhawks didn’t allow a goal in the first period.
At 1:56 into the second, Patrick Kane joined the scoring parade and pushed the lead to three.
The lead would stay at three for six minutes until Tyler Seguin got Dallas on the board.
Later in the second period Carl Dahlstrom lost an edge and was driven into the boards by Radek Faksa. What looked scary immediately didn’t end up costing the young Hawks defenseman a single shift.
— Cristiano Simonetta (@CMS_74_) December 21, 2018
Down big at home, the Stars really poured it on in the second period and Ward was exceptional. Dallas out-shot the Hawks 10-6 in the second but carried most of the action, especially in the second half of the period. If not for Ward the game could have easily been tied.
Six minutes into the third period Ward had a rare miss. He dove to cover a puck and Jamie Benn was able to tap the puck across the crease to Taylor Fedun, who was all alone on the doorstep. He tapped in the goal and suddenly the lead was down to one.
The Hawks didn’t soil themselves and watch the Stars mow them down as they have done in some recent games this season.
With 2:52 left in the third period took an uncalled elbow to the face from Tyler Pitlick and dropped immediately. There was a lot of blood coming from Murphy’s face; he went straight to the room to get his mug put back together.
As Bishop headed to the bench the Blackhawks were able to clear the puck and Kane took advantage, scoring his second of the night into an empty cage giving Chicago a two-goal advantage once again.
With Bishop back on the bench, Brendan Perlini won a race to the puck and scored into the empty net to put the Blackhawks up 5-2.
Ward was tremendous the entire night. He stopped 26 of 28, many of which were quality chances in stressful situations.
Gustafsson’s goal was his third in his last four games. Last year Brent Seabrook led all Hawks defensemen with seven goals; Gustafsson scored his eighth of the season already five days before Christmas.
Speaking of Seabrook, he skated only 15:23 in the game, the lowest ice time among Hawks defensemen. Dahlstrom, even with the injury scare in the second, skated 19:18. Gustafsson and Keith led Chicago, each skating more than 24 minutes as the only defensemen over 20 minutes for the Hawks.
Kane continues to roll as well. He picked up two goals and an assist in the game. DeBrincat also had three points (one goal, two assists) while Kampf contributed two assists up front.