Petr Mrázek proved Saturday why it’s so hard to put together a good winning streak in the NHL.

The Stars did just about everything right against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center, but saw their eight-game winning streak end because of Mrázek’s outstanding play in goal.

Dallas had a 44-17 advantage in shots on goal, an 89-33 edge in shot attempts and more than 40 quality scoring chances. However, Mrázek made 42 saves in a 3-2 win that was the Stars’ first defeat in two weeks.

“When you’re on an eight-game win streak, you’re hoping that puck luck can continue,” said Stars coach Pete DeBoer. “We’ve had some during the streak and tonight we didn’t have enough of it.”

Pete Deboer speask to the media after the game

The game looked on paper to be one of the more manageable, as Chicago sits 31st in the league at 23-48-5 (51 points) and Dallas is third at 48-20-9 (105 points). In addition, the Stars were on a seven-game road win streak and have one of the best road records in the NHL at 25-10-5.

And, truth be told, Dallas was the better team for most of the game. The Stars controlled the puck early, but simply couldn’t put it past Mrázek in a scoreless first period. Then, Chicago broke through on a power play as rookie sensation Connor Bedard snapped in his 22nd goal of the season on a second period power play to give the Blackhawks the lead. Andreas Athanasiou and Seth Jones then made it 3-0 and really put the Stars on their heels.

“We had a lot of good looks, we played well tonight,” said Stars forward Joe Pavelski. “But we’re definitely a little disappointed we didn’t find points out of this game. We’ve stuck with it and did a lot of good things. We had a lot of good looks and we’d like to get a little bit more out.”

Joe Pavelski speaks to the media after the game

Pavelski and linemates Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson combined for 10 shots on goal and 18 shot attempts. Jamie Benn had five shots on goal, while Thomas Harley had six shots that were blocked and Miro Heiskanen had five shots that were blocked. The Stars had 30 shots that were blocked in addition to the 42 that Mrázek stopped.

“Credit to them,” DeBoer said. “I thought they played hard, they blocked 25 or 30 shots, Mrázek was good. I think you go into any building and if the opponent’s goalie is the first star and their team is blocking 25 to 30 shots, you’re going to be in for a tight game. So credit to them.”

The Stars made a strong push as Hintz redirected in a great pass from Heiskanen late in the second period, and then Benn tipped in a Heiskanen shot with 4:23 left in regulation. Dallas went 0-for-3 on the power play, including an extended 5-on-3, and that was one reason for the disappointment.

“We’ve got to execute,” DeBoer said. “That was the game. The 5-on-3, and then the power play late in the third. Typically, all year, we have cashed in in those situations and made the other team pay, and tonight we didn’t.”

That said, there were still some good things. Benn’s goal gave him 20 for the season, so Dallas now has eight 20-goal scorers in the same season for the first time in franchise history. In addition, Mavrik Bourque made his NHL debut, playing 10:56 and getting seven shot attempts.

“I thought Mav was really good,” DeBoer said. “I thought he got more confident as the game went on. I thought his third period was the best. He had the disallowed goal and he created some stuff, some good signs.”

Bourque drove the net hard and helped a puck sneak past Mrázek in the third period, but officials waived the goal off because of goaltender interference. That became a turning point in the game.

But it showed just how close the Stars were to coming back and tying the game or even winning it.

Recap: Stars at Blackhawks 4.6.24

A win would have put the Stars five points ahead of the Avalanche in the Central Division. As it is, Dallas plays at Colorado on Sunday with a three-point lead in the standings.

“That’s why we wanted to get this one, so we could put them in a little bit of a hole knowing tomorrow is coming,” Pavelski said. “It’ll be a good game and we’ll be ready for it. It will be a good test.”

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

Related Content