Call it a reversal of fortune or a tough end to a long week, but after a strong first period, the Blackhawks just couldn’t close out the Dallas Stars in their 4-3 loss Saturday night. Chicago outshot the Stars 14-5 in the first 20 minutes of play, but lost the battle the rest of the way 20-18.
“You like to think that if we had a few breaks in the first period it could have been a different game and given us a little more energy to get through it,” said Jonathan Toews
. “That’s a gritty road win [for Dallas]. They wanted it pretty badly and stuck with it even though we had a lot of pressure in the first period.”
“We had a really good start and had nothing to show for it,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “We weren’t our best. They were looking for turnovers and they capitalized. It was a tough night.”
In the first frame, Chicago did a good job of keeping up the pressure on a weary Dallas team that landed at O’Hare at 2 am this morning following a game Friday night. After the first intermission, however, the Stars seemed to regroup and scored two goals in the first 6 minutes of the second period. Though the Hawks fought back, two goals in the third sealed the win for Dallas.
“Everybody gets their turn; we’re going to have some shifts where we have to defend,” Quenneville said. “We need to do a better job of defending there."
“They scored a couple goals and it changed the game,” said Duncan Keith
. “I thought we still outplayed them overall.”
Coming off a 3-1 win in Nashville Thursday, goaltender Cristobal Huet took the loss Saturday night, allowing all four goals, including a bouncing puck off the stick of Stephane Robidas that slid in for the game-winner.
“It’s frustrating,” Huet said. “I feel like I let the team down and I know I can play better than that. It’s just a bump in the road.”
Though Huet took the majority of the abuse from the home crowd, his teammates defended him and called Saturday’s result a “team loss.”
“There’s not one guy who takes the blame for the loss,” Keith said. “There were other goals that we scored that weren’t his fault. That’s not the reason why we lost – we let them back into the game and gave them a couple of goals off of sloppier play. That’s the storyline, and that changed the feel of the game.”
“It’s pretty unfair – there’s more pressure on him than there should be,” Toews said. “No one asks for that. We all know that we win as a team and we lose as a team; nobody here points fingers. As a team, we’re going to pull through moments like this.”
With an off day Sunday and three more days to prepare for the Vancouver Canucks, the Hawks’ long stretch of 5 games in 8 days is at an end. Though the loss is disappointing, they now have time to gather themselves and move on.
“We’ll build off of it. We have a couple of day to regroup after a long week," Toews said. "Hopefully we’ll be ready to go next week."