Blackhawks top Stars, extend division lead
Chicago moves five points ahead of second-place Dallasby Steve Hunt / NHL.com Correspondent
DALLAS -- Artem Anisimov had a goal and three assists, Corey Crawford made 36 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Dallas Stars 5-1 at American Airlines Center on Saturday for their third consecutive victory.
"He's been a very big part of our team this year," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Anisimov, who was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets last June. "That line [of Anisimov, Artemi Panarin and Patrick Kane] has been tremendous; everybody does a little bit something different. [Anisimov] has been terrific in a lot of ways. Tonight he gets the production to show for it."
Trevor van Riemsdyk, Brent Seabrook, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane also scored for Chicago (36-16-4), which scored once on the power play and twice while shorthanded. Niklas Hjalmarsson and Panarin each had two assists for the Central Division-leading Blackhawks, who moved five points ahead of Dallas, though the Stars have three games in hand.
Tyler Seguin had a first-period goal for Dallas (33-15-5), which had won its previous three games.
"They came to play their game. They embarrassed us in front of our fans in our own building," Stars captain Jamie Benn said of Chicago.
Seabrook gave the Blackhawks a quick lead by scoring a power-play goal 34 seconds into the game. Five seconds after Dallas defenseman John Klingberg was called for hooking, Seabrook beat Stars goaltender Antti Niemi with a slap shot from the right point.
Video: CHI@DAL: Seabrook opens scoring with power-play goal
"Special teams didn't help us, obviously. It started the first shift of the game," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "They were the better-executing team. Our puck management wasn't good enough. You're not going to beat that team managing the puck the way we did."
Van Riemsdyk doubled Chicago's lead with 3:34 remaining in the first period. Panarin's wrist shot from the left point struck Niemi in the shoulder, and the carom fell to van Riemsdyk in the left circle. The defenseman beat Niemi with a well-placed wrist shot inside the far post for his third goal of the season.
Dallas made it 2-1 with 2:14 remaining when Seguin scored his 28th goal of the season. Benn's wrist shot from the slot struck the left post, but the carom went behind Crawford and Seguin tapped the rebound inside the far post.
But Hossa scored the first of Chicago's two shorthanded goals with 58.2 seconds left in the period to restore the Blackhawks' two-goal lead. Niemi stopped a wrist shot from the slot by Jonathan Toews with his pad, but Hossa grabbed the rebound and took a wrist shot that trickled through Niemi's five-hole for his 10th goal of the season.
Video: CHI@DAL: Hossa cuts, shoots and scores
The assist was the 300th of Toews' career.
"I thought our special teams was the difference. Two shorthanded goals were pretty important tonight. I think that was definitely one of the key factors in the win," Crawford said.
Lehtonen replaced Niemi to start the second period and allowed Anisimov's shorthanded goal at 12:39. Hjalmarsson bounced a clearing pass out of the zone, and Anisimov was able to poke the puck past Goligoski at the Dallas blue line before beating Lehtonen over his blocker with a wrist shot from the slot.
Video: CHI@DAL: Anisimov shoots, scores shorthanded goal
"They're killers," Goligoski said of the two shorthanded goals Dallas allowed. "Obviously, the special teams, we lost the game tonight. We've just got to find ways to be better. We can't be giving up goals when you're not scoring especially. We just have to nip that in the bud."
Kane scored his League-leading 32nd goal off a rebound at 17:24. Lehtonen stopped Anisimov's shot, but Kane put the rebound into the wide-open right side of the net.
The Stars outshot Chicago 10-3 in the third period but generated few serious chances.
"It's a huge game. We talked about it before the game, what it means, and we just lay an egg," Dallas center Vernon Fiddler said. "There's a lot of disappointed guys in here. We let our fans down."
Each team is off until Tuesday, when the Blackhawks open a four-game homestand by hosting the San Jose Sharks and the Stars visit the Minnesota Wild. The teams play again Thursday in Chicago.
"We're excited to be back home in Chicago for a while now," Hjalmarsson said. "We feel like we've been on the road for months almost with the All-Star break too, so it's going to be fun to play at home again."