The Blackhawks had Saturday night off between home games, and the Dallas Stars had to travel to Chicago after a home win over Washington before an early start.
But the Hawks had no answer for Cody Eakin and company, and lost their second home game in three days.
The game actually started well for the Hawks, who spent almost the entire first three minutes of the game in the offensive zone. They didn’t score, however, and that opened the door for the Stars to make their shots count early.
Tyler Seguin showed off the explosive release that has him at the top of the league leader board, opening the scoring with his 28th of the season. Then the gong show that has become the Blackhawks power play coughed up the puck and Eakin, who had one of his finest games in the NHL on Sunday evening, scored a short-handed goal to give the Stars a two-goal advantage.
However, Chicago fought back – literally and figuratively.
Patrick Kane scored his 21st of the season less than two minutes after Eakin’s first, and Brandon Saad scored a power play goal to tie the game with exactly three minutes remaining in the opening period.
A last minute goal, this one coming from Vern Fiddler, saw the Hawks head to the dressing room trailing after 20 minutes. The Hawks outshot the Stars 20-14 in the opening period, and scored twice but were down one.
Saad scored his second of the game and 15th of the season early in the second period to tie the game at three, but the physical play of the Stars started to get under the Hawks’ skin. After a couple cheap shots behind the play over the course of a few shifts in the second, Patrick Sharp had enough and dropped the gloves with Shawn Horcoff. It was Sharp’s first fighting major since 2009, and while he handled himself well it showed that the Hawks are a frustrated group.
Johnny Oduya went to the box early in the third and the wheels came off for the home team. Eakin scored his second of the game and ninth of the season, the eventual game-winner, at 2:58 into the final period and the Blackhawks never responded. Eric Cole and Horcoff added goals (Horcoff’s into an empty net) to push the final score to 6-3 in favor of the Stars.
Eakin had a career game, adding an assist and one hit to his two goals, while winning 12 of 16 faceoffs in the game. Jamie Benn picked up three assists on the night while defensemen John Klingberg and Alex Goligoski had two assists each in the blowout. Kari Lehtonen made 38 saves in the win, but faced only five shots in the third period while the skaters in front of him ran away with the game.
Saad and Marian Hossa led the Hawks with seven shots on net each, but only Saad and Brent Seabrook had more than one point on the night; Seabrook picked up two assists with his team-high four blocked shots.
Tim Erixon played… sparingly. In 11 shifts (7:28) he managed to finished minus-one with nothing else showing in the box score. Joakim Nordstrom finished with the lowest ice time on the team (6:02) but had a couple nice shifts mixed into his brief appearance. Marcus Kruger only skated 7:22 of which 2:24 came short-handed.
The Hawks have 47 hours (and counting) to get their act together before the Arizona Coyotes arrive at the United Center.