CHICAGO -- Patrick Eaves doesn't score goals in bunches often, but he did in the Dallas Stars' 4-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Thursday.
Eaves' second NHL hat trick helped the Stars (35-15-5) atone for a 5-1 loss to the Blackhawks (36-18-4) at American Airlines Center on Feb. 6 and improve to 2-1-0 against them. He scored all three of his three goals in the first period.
"I'm playing with some pretty special players, so things happen fast out there, and it's usually toward the net," said Eaves, who played right wing on the top line with center Tyler Seguin and left wing Jamie Benn. "I just try to be there and help out."
Dallas defenseman John Klingberg also scored in the first to help the Stars build a 4-0 lead.
Video: DAL@CHI: Eaves buries second goal of 1st period
Eaves' goals were his fifth, sixth and seventh of the season. Asked if he had any favorites among them, he laughed.
"No, I'll take any one," Eaves said. "I don't care. It was just good to get a nice start. I think that was the biggest thing. We got spanked on Saturday [by Chicago], so that was still fresh in our mouth."
The Blackhawks made it interesting with goals by defenseman Duncan Keith and right wing Patrick Kane in the third period.
Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen made 44 saves, including 19 in the third, when Dallas was outshot 21-2.
The Stars (75 points) have won five of their past six games and are one point behind the Blackhawks (76) for first place in the Central Division. Dallas has played three fewer games.
Video: DAL@CHI: Eaves opens up the scoring in the 1st
"Obviously, we weren't ready to play tonight," said Kane, who leads the NHL with 77 points (33 goals). "You look at the start and obviously they score one goal 5-on-5, one 4-on-4 and two on the power play, and we weren't ready in any situation tonight, which isn't going to help your overall game."
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 18 and was replaced by backup Scott Darling (14 saves) to start the second period.
Chicago, which played its second straight game without rookie left wing Artemi Panarin (illness), has lost the first two of its four-game homestand.
"It was a terrible, brutal ... brutal first period," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I'd say we kind of stopped the bleeding in the second period. [Had a] good third, but scored early and it was like we had ringette sticks on tonight, no blade on our sticks."
Video: DAL@CHI: Klingberg steals puck, scores backhander
Eaves' first NHL hat trick was for the Detroit Red Wings on Dec. 29, 2010, in Dallas. His second three-goal game highlighted the Stars' four-goal first.
Eaves opened the scoring at 3:19 with a sharp-angled shot, then Klingberg made it 2-0 at 9:44 with the teams playing at 4-on-4 when his shot deflected off Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and bounced through Crawford's pads.
Eaves scored the next two on the power play, at 16:26 and 19:44. He made it 3-0 by redirecting Seguin's pass from the corner into the net and pushed it to 4-0 when he scored off a rebound four seconds after Teuvo Teravainen tripped former Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp.
Neither team scored in the second period, but the Blackhawks put more pressure on Lehtonen.
Keith got one past the Dallas goalie 32 seconds into the third to make it 4-1, and Kane followed with a goal at 7:48 to make it 4-2.
Video: DAL@CHI: Keith puts Blackhawks on the board
Chicago nearly scored a third goal during a power play less than a minute after Kane's, but Lehtonen made three saves in a 16-second span to prevent it. He made another big save with 7:55 left to keep Andrew Shaw from scoring while unchecked in front of the net.
"They got a couple [goals], and it's a whole new game," Lehtonen said. "It was nice after that to make a few saves. If they would've gotten another one, that would've been crazy after that. We were able to still keep a little bit of cushion and weather the storm."
The Blackhawks played a tribute video for Sharp and former defenseman Johnny Oduya during TV timeouts in the first period. It was the first regular-season game in Chicago for each since helping the Blackhawks win the 2015 Stanley Cup at United Center on June 15.
Video: DAL@CHI: Kane gets puck after faceoff, knocks in goal
Sharp, who played his 800th NHL game in front of his father, wife and two daughters, spent 10 seasons in Chicago. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015.
"It was a tough start to the game, to be honest with you," Sharp said. "My legs were a little shaky, which was funny. I haven't felt that way for a long time. I think as the game went on, and got that nice cheer from the crowd, that made me feel pretty good. It was just a regular hockey game after that."
Oduya played three-plus seasons for Chicago and was a key member of the Blackhawks' 2013 and 2015 championships.
Video: Eaves scores hat trick, leads Stars past Blackhawks