The Hawks did nothing to engage the Stars on Saturday night, and Dallas took advantage with a strong 4-0 shutout win.
The Blackhawks came into the game having allowed eight goals in their previous seven games (5-0-1), but were flat from the opening puck drop. Dallas was up two at the end of a first period that saw the Hawks throw away two ugly power plays and allow a goal to the Stars while they had an advantage.
Patrick Eaves scored the game-winning goal only 9:36 into the game, and Tyler Seguin scored his 33rd of the season while Niklas Hjalmarsson was in the penalty box less than seven minutes later.
Each team put seven shots on net in the second period, but neither was able to score. And the Blackhawks were lucky to enter the third period chasing only two; the Stars had three or four looks at a wide open net in the middle stanza but failed to convert. Indeed, any kind of aim by the hosts could have had the Blackhawks down five easily entering the final frame.
Shawn Horcoff scored his 11th of the season on a Stars power play – with Hjalmarsson in the box again – at 6:02 into the third and the Blackhawks appeared to be done. Indeed, after Jason Spezza scored Dallas’ fourth goal of the night less than four minutes later, the game was over.
Brandon Saad was awarded a penalty shot 71 seconds after Horcoff’s goal, but was denied by Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen stopped all 33 shots the Blackhawks put on net in the shutout win.
This game was the first time in eight starts that Corey Crawford allowed more than two goals, but he was the best player on the ice for Chicago on this night. He stopped 25 of 29 in the loss.
Marian Hossa led the Hawks with seven shots on net, and Jonathan Toews won 14 of 19 faceoffs, but Chicago’s top line failed to generate any offense.
Bryan Bickell skated exactly 16 minutes in the game, but was credited with one hit and zero shots on net. Bickell and Kris Versteeg had a tough night, missing on a number of passing attempts that led to rushed the opposite direction.
Michal Rozsival looked bad in the loss, finishing the night minus-two with an ugly turnover leading directly to a Dallas goal. His play on Saturday night will give David Rundblad additional job security for the next 11 games.