Friday, January 25, 2013
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Dallas Stars 2 (OT)
Stars steal a point in their worst game of the season.
DALLAS The Dallas Stars were fortunate to steal a point from the Chicago Blackhawks Thursday night at the AAC, losing 3-2 in overtime in a game they had no business being in. The overtime loss dropped Dallas to 2-1-1 on the season. Chicago improved to a league-best 4-0-0.
The Blackhawks dominated from the very first few seconds of the game and never let up, outplaying Dallas everywhere except the scoreboard. After a first period in which Chicago outshot Dallas 12-6 and should have been up 3-0 if not for some heroic netminding from Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, Loui Eriksson stole a puck on the penalty kill, lost a Blackhawks defender and wristed it in with less than one second left in the period for a 1-0 lead. It was Eriksson's second goal of the season and first shorthanded.
Dallas was even more heavily outplayed in the second period, but they capitalized on some poor defending from the Blackhawks at the 10:41 mark. Cody Eakin, newly promoted to the second line center role, stole the puck along and boards and got it to a compeltely uncovered Ray Whitney directly in front of the Chicago net. Whitney roofed a backhand shot past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford for his second goal of the season and an undeserved 2-0 lead.
Chicago finally struck back, thanks to a series of powerplays and a crucial error by Dallas' Trevor Daley. Having killed off the first three penalties they faced, Dallas was close to killing off their fourth straight when a cross-ice pass from Patrick Sharp deflected in off of Daley's stick and into the Dallas net at 15:57 of the second period.
Chicago kept at it, and at 14:07, with Eric Nystrom in the box for boarding, captain Jonathan Toews struck for his second goal and the 2-2 tie. Dallas appeared to have a little momentum near the end of the third period, when Whitney was tripped in front of the Chicago net and Dallas got their second powerplay of the night with less than two minutes remaining. Unfortunately they did nothing with it, as Dallas captain Brenden Morrow was called for interference when he slashed Chicago defender Brent Seabrook's stick to the ice. Just over a minute later, Marian Hossa scored from close range on the 4-on-3 powerplay to finish the three-goal comeback rally and end the game with his league-leading fifth goal.
Lehtonen was the only reason Dallas was remotely competitive, stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced in the loss. Crawford was rarely tested but solid when he had to be, posting 21 saves on 23 shots for the win.
The best news of the night for Dallas came in the second intermission, when the team announced it had finally signed Jamie Benn to a five-year contract. Benn will likely not be ready for Dallas' next game on Saturday against the St. Louis Blues, but he may be availible Monday night at Columbus.