If I told you the Blackhawks were getting out-shot 22-8 after 40 minutes of hockey, the assumption would be that the score was similar to the ugly loss the Hawks suffered in Dallas on Tuesday, right?
How about if the Hawks were shooting 50 percent?
After the Blackhawks did the Stars a number of favors by heading to the penalty box on Tuesday night, Dallas returned the favor in this one. And the Blackhawks took full advantage of the Stars’ lack of composure.
Dominik Kubalik scored the game’s first goal 5:36 into the opening period.
That was one of the Blackhawks’ four shots on net in the first period. Dallas put 15 shots on Kevin Lankinen with zero getting past Chicago’s number one netminder.
Chicago killed two penalties in the first period but were unsuccessful on their only advantage of the opening 20 minutes.
The story was different in the second period.
Early in the second, Connor Murphy absolutely obliterated Andrew Cogliano after failing to clear the puck out of the zone. Cogliano struggled to get back on his feet and went straight to the room. He did not return until the start of the third period. No penalty was called on Murphy for the hit.
However, the next four penalties that were called in the game were on Dallas. And the Blackhawks made them pay.
Radek Faksa went to the box 85 seconds into the second period. The Hawks went to work and Carl Soderberg redirected an Adam Boqvist shot into the net to give Chicago a 2-0 lead.
Patrick Kane picked up the second assist on Soderberg’s fifth of the year.
Joel Kiviranta tripped Murphy less than 40 seconds after the Soderberg goal and served two full minutes in the box without the Blackhawks scoring.
Jason Robertson went to the box at 7:42 for tripping Philipp Kurashev. Dallas killed that penalty successfully as well.
The Blackhawks kept pressure on Dallas even though they weren’t generating shots on net. At 14:37 Duncan Keith slapped a shot on net that went in for his first of the year.
Miro Heiskanen then took a brutal penalty less than 70 seconds after the Keith goal. Alex DeBrincat sniped home his 15th of the season to give the Blackhawks a 4-0 lead while only being credited for eight shots on net.
At some point the whistle was going to favor the Stars and that happened twice in the closing minutes of the second period. Dallas was clearly frustrated and a number of their players, including Jamie Benn, were having extended conversations with Murphy after his hit on Cogliano.
One minute after the DeBrincat goal, Lucas Wallmark was sent off slashing. David Kampf joined him in the box 85 seconds into the kill after he tripped Heiskanen in the Hawks’ offensive zone. The Blackhawks had to kill 35 seconds of a two-man advantage in the final two minutes of the period.
They did just that.
And then killed off the final 50 seconds of the period short-handed as well. In total, the Blackhawks spent the final 2:50 of the period on the kill and survived.
After 40 minutes into the game, Chicago had a 4-0 lead with eight credited shots on net. Lankinen was doing well in net for the Hawks and the puck was finding holes for their shots to get in.
The Blackhawks had 35 seconds of penalty kill time carry over to start the third period. They would start the third period against Jake Oettinger; Dallas made a change in net to begin the third. Not a great night for Anton Khudobin, whose save percentage was an ugly 50 for the night.
Chicago handled the remaining penalty kill to open the third. With that penalty in the books, the last thing Chicago wanted to do was give the Stars an advantage. Just safely skate at even strength and maintain (if not build upon) the four-goal lead.
At 5:26 Boqvist went to the box. Thankfully the Hawks killed that penalty as well.
However, the Stars kept the pressure on and eventually ended Lankinen’s shutout bid. Roope Hintz parked himself all alone in front of the net and almost whiffed on the shot attempt but got enough to slide it past Lankinen. At the mid-point of the third period Chicago’s lead was down to three.
With 7:18 left in regulation, John Klingberg skated the puck up the middle of the ice and ripped a shot through Lankinen to cut the lead to two. The Blackhawks were flat offensively and Dallas was taking full advantage of it.
The Blackhawks’ third and fourth lines had a couple good shifts after the Klingberg goal to kill some clock and the Stars pulled Oettinger with 2:30 left in regulation.
Chicago iced the puck a couple times just trying to clear the puck with Dallas’ extra attacker on the ice. Chicago was able to kill the final two minutes and skate out of Dallas with a split to start the road trip.
Lankinen stopped 28 of 30 shots he faced in the game. The skaters in front of him put as many shots on net in the third period – eight – as they had in the first two periods to finish the night with 16 total.
Calvin de Haan and Murphy blocked five shots each to lead the Hawks. Boqvist and Soderberg were each credited with three blocks as well.
No Blackhawks skater was credited with more than two shots on net.