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THREE THINGS: Slow Going, Split Decision and Strong Debut

Three takeaways from Chicago's 2-1 loss to Dallas on Sunday afternoon

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

DALLAS - The Blackhawks kicked off a four-game road trip with the hopes of stringing some wins together to make a run at a Western Conference wild-card spot.

They weren't able to win their second in a row as the Stars stymied the Blackhawks 2-1 on Sunday afternoon at American Airlines Center.

Joe Pavelski and Tyler Seguin each scored and Anton Khudobin out-dueled Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford to earn the victory.

"That's a good team," Blackhawks winger Brandon Saad said. "They do all the little things right, they compete hard. I thought we were with them for most of the game. They got a couple of bounces in front of the net where they capitalized but we had our fair share of chances, too. It was a pretty hard-fought game overall."

The Blackhawks got a power-play goal from Dominik Kubalik but it wasn't enough as they fell to 27-27- 8 on the season. Meanwhile, the Stars improved to 36-20-7.

"I thought our group played hard," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. "It was a tight game. That's a good team over there. I can't fault the compete level and we played until the end and we had our chances."

Video: CHI Recap: Kubalik scores lone goal in 2-1 loss

Here are three takeaways from the Blackhawks' loss:


SLOW GOING

The Blackhawks were in Sunday's game the entire way, but once they fell behind late in the second the Stars went into lockdown. As one of the NHL's top defensive team - they rank third in the league allowing 2.53 goals per game - the Stars limited the Blackhawks' time and space and clogged up the neutral zone to slow the visitors down.

"They're a good team at swarming all over the ice, whether it's in the forecheck, neutral zone (or) defensively," Saad said. "For our sake, it was maybe getting quicker shots from the point (and) getting more bodies to the net. It seemed like any time we got flat-footed in the corner they kind of swarmed us and went the other way."

The Blackhawks were held to nine shots on goal in the third and Khudobin stopped them all.

"They have a veteran group that knows how to play," Colliton said. "Up and down the lineup they have guys with tremendous defensive awareness."

Video: Colliton, Saad and Crawford on loss in Dallas 


SPLIT DECISION

Crawford started in goal for the second consecutive game looking to build upon a stellar performance during the Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime victory over the Predators on Friday night at the United Center.

Against the Stars, Crawford again put together a big effort with 31 saves and a .939 save percentage.

Colliton had a simple explanation for giving Crawford the start.

"That's kind of how we've been doing it," Colliton said. "You win, you stay in."

Sunday game marked Crawford's 31st start of the season, matching that of Robin Lehner as the veteran netminders continue to split to the workload.

"We've been getting great goaltending all year and can't complain at all about the performance night in and night out from both the guys," Colliton said. "I think Corey particularly, as the season has gone on, it feels like he's gotten sharper and sharper, and this last stretch of games he's been excellent."

Crawford credited the Blackhawks' overall scheme for helping him succeed.

"We changed our system … a little bit (and) I don't think we're giving up as much," Crawford said, "But the season, there are lots of ups and downs and sometimes you get bounces and sometimes you don't. Some games you feel better than others. There's a mix of things."

Video: Carlsson on NHL debut


STRONG DEBUT

After being recalled from Rockford of the AHL on Saturday, Lucas Carlsson made his NHL debut against the Stars.

The defenseman had three hits and a block in 14:55 of ice time.

"I was a bit nervous at the start but I think I got into it pretty quick," said Carlsson, who was paired with veteran Connor Murphy. "I just tried to play my game, don't change anything. Obviously, you have to adjust a little bit because everything is much faster here.

Colliton came away impressed with Carlsson's effort.

"I thought he was good," Colliton said. "He was assertive, physical, made plays, skated the puck. I thought he did well for himself."

With the Blackhawks' roster in flux, the 22-year-old Carlsson said he is looking at this opportunity as a way to showcase his skills to the Blackhawks' hierarchy.

"I still have one more year on my contract so I want to show what I can do and hopefully play a few more games here and see what happens," Carlsson said.

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