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game recap

Blackhawks extend lead in Central Division

Defeat Stars in shootout to increase margin to eight points

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks extended their Central Division lead with a 3-2 shootout win against the Dallas Stars at United Center on Thursday.

Corey Crawford tied his season high with 42 saves, and Patrick Kane and Artemi Panarin scored in the shootout for Chicago (48-20-6), which leads the second-place Minnesota Wild by eight points in the division and Western Conference. Minnesota lost 3-1 to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Chicago stayed two points behind the Washington Capitals for first place in the NHL. The Capitals defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in a shootout.

 

WATCH: All Stars vs. Blackhawks highlights

 

"The division is where we're concentrating on, and we'll see what happens outside of that," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "That's our focus. I know we had a fortunate point number in this homestand here, but I think our concern is let's get our play back to that pace we had for a big stretch."

Crawford, who was pulled in the third period of a 5-4 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday, rebounded with his third game with 40 or more saves in March.

He made 13 saves in the first period, 13 in the second, 10 in the third and six in overtime, allowing a goal by Ales Hemsky in the second and in the third.

Crawford's work in overtime included a save on a breakaway by Stars forward Remi Elie and three straight stops against Jamie Benn with 1:34 left. He also made saves in the final minute against former Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp and defenseman John Klingberg.

Video: DAL@CHI: Kane shows off slick hands on shootout tally

"Real good response," Quenneville said. "There [weren't] many positives tonight, but that certainly was one of them [along with] the score and the shootout."

Kane and Marian Hossa scored for Chicago, which swept the season series (5-0-0).

Kane gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead 8:13 into the first period. Hemsky tied it 1-1 at 12:26 of the second. Hossa gave Chicago a 2-1 lead at 8:37 of the third period with a slap shot, but Hemsky tied it again, 2-2, at 14:51.

In the shootout, Tyler Seguin gave the Stars a 1-0 lead with a goal off a wrist shot in the bottom of the first round. Kane tied it in the top of the second, and Panarin put the Blackhawks ahead 2-1 with his goal to start the third.

"I tried something new today," Lehtonen said of his approach against Kane and Panarin in the shootout. "Last couple times, I've had a hard time with Kane, and my new thing didn't work this time either. I need to come up with something else again. Those guys, they have lots of different moves. You just try to pick one that they might be doing. Today, I got fooled a couple times."

Hemsky was unable to extend the shootout in the bottom of the third.

 

Goal of the game

Kane's goal was sparked by Richard Panik, who created a 2-on-1 rush by tapping the puck to Kane entering the Stars zone. Kane's wrist shot from the left faceoff circle beat Lehtonen between the blocker and right pad.

Video: DAL@CHI: Kane beats Lehtonen five-hole for a PPG

 

Saves of the game

Crawford made all six of his saves in overtime in the final 1:34, starting with three rapid-fire shots by Benn. Crawford made the initial stop on Benn's one-timer from the right of the crease and got his body in front of two rebound attempts.

Video: DAL@CHI: Crawford slides to deny Benn in overtime

 

Unsung performance of the game

Stars center Cody Eakin won 9 of 15 faceoffs (60.0 percent), had two hits, and was plus-1 in 19:34, including 2:42 while shorthanded.

 

Highlight of the game

Elie stripped the puck from Hossa at the Blackhawks blue line in overtime and raced down the ice for a breakaway. Crawford used his right pad to stop Elie's wrist shot with 1:16 left.

Video: DAL@CHI: Crawford stones Elie's breakaway in OT

 

They said it

"You've got to give [goalie Corey] Crawford some credit on the saves, but at the same time we missed some beauties. We probably doubled them up 2-1 in chances. We missed the net on a couple breakaways. I thought we worked hard. We deserved a better fate." -- Stars coach Lindy Ruff

 

"[Crawford] played amazing tonight. He's the reason we won the game and hats off to him. He's done that a lot this year." -- Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane

 

Need to know

Dallas forward Jason Spezza (back spasms) didn't make the trip, missing his second straight game. … Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya faced the Stars for the first time since they traded him back to Chicago on Feb. 28. … Panarin has scored on 4 of 5 shootout attempts this season. … Kane has 81 points (33 goals, 48 assists), tied for second with Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL scoring race behind Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers (87 points).

 

What's next

Stars: Host the San Jose Sharks on Friday (8:30 p.m. ET; FS-SW, CSN-CA, NHL.TV)

Blackhawks: At the Florida Panthers on Saturday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, FS-F, WGN, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Crawford, Panarin lead Hawks past Stars in SO, 3-2

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