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Blackhawks Rout Stars, 6-2

by Mark Stepneski / Dallas Stars

The Chicago Blackhawks dominated play against the Dallas Stars again, and this time it was reflected on the scoreboard. The Blackhawks controlled play for the first 30 minutes of the game, built a 5-0 lead and went on to defeat the Stars, 6-2, at American Airlines Center Tuesday night.

“That was a good old-fashioned [butt] kicking is what that was,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “You can’t hide that.”

The Blackhawks, who outshot the Stars 50-18 and lost 4-3 last Tuesday in Chicago, had a 26-7 shots advantage midway through the game and a 5-0 lead on the scoreboard.

“They pretty much outworked us the whole game and that was that,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn.

“It was poor,” said Stars center Shawn Horcoff. “It’s pretty much the worst game we’ve played all year. We’re just going to have to put it behind us. We’re a team that takes pride in our work ethic, and when we’re skating we are a tough team to beat and we can play with any team in the league. Tonight was just not the case.”

The regulation loss snapped the Stars’ six-game points streak, and dropped them to 2-3-4 in their last nine home games. The Stars are 14-10-5 on the season. Chicago won its second straight game and improved to 22-6-5 on the season.

“Great start,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. “[We] did a lot of good things-pucks on bodies, quickness in transition and finish and across the board contributions, so it was a very good night.”

The Blackhawks opened the scoring 2:03 into the first period when Michael Kostka’s shot from the right point sent the puck rattling off traffic and then barely rolling over the goal line.

“I think it was one of those games where we were throwing the puck at the net and it was going in,” said Kostka.

The Stars’ penalty kill came up big midway through the first, killing off a 1:55 Chicago five-on-three power play. But less than two minutes after that kill, the Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead when Patrick Kane scored on a breakaway, beating Kari Lehtonen with a backhand shot.

“To kill off the five-on-three and then give Kane a breakaway, that’s inexcusable,” said Ruff, “just on the mental side and that falls on my shoulders.”

The Stars had some good pressure early in the second, but couldn’t cash in and the Blackhawks extended their lead to 3-0 at the 2:46 mark. Brandon Saad forced a Dallas turnover along the boards, went to the net and scored from close range after Andrew Shaw centered a loose puck.

Chicago went on its fourth power play of the game a little less than five minutes later and Patrick Sharp scored off a blast from the point to give Chicago a 4-0 lead at the 8:20 mark. That ended the night for Lehtonen, who was pulled after allowing four goals on 19 shots. Dan Ellis took over in net for the Stars.

“We were hanging our goalie out to dry,” said Ruff. “When it hit four and it wasn’t looking good, we’ve got a tough road ahead. I thought maybe Danny could spark us a little bit, but to give Kari rest when we can give him rest.”

Sharp struck again at the 11:08 mark, getting behind the Dallas defense for a breakaway and beating Ellis with a backhand shot to give Chicago a 5-0 lead.

The Stars finally got on the board with 6:24 remaining in the period when Ryan Garbutt sent a pass from the left circle to the side of the net, where Antoine Roussel beat Chicago goalie Antti Raanta from close range.

Chicago scored late in the second to make it a 6-1 game when Saad got to the rebound of his own shot and scored from the right circle.

Roussel deflected a Sergei Gonchar shot into the net with 18.7 seconds left in the third to make it a 6-2 final.

"This is a good character test. Bounce back from a game that we were collectively a bad team and a bad effort,” said Ruff. “There's nothing we can find in this game that's going to make anyone happy. It's a game you don't even look at. We weren't good enough with our system and we didn't win enough one-on-one puck battles, they won the majority and they won the war at the end of the night."

A road trip is up next for the Stars. They have games at Nashville, Winnipeg at Colorado.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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