The Dallas Stars’ three-game winning streak came to an end Saturday night. The Stars played well at times, but they didn’t make the most of their opportunities. The Chicago Blackhawks took advantage of their chances, and skated away with a 5-2 victory at American Airlines Center.
“I thought we did a lot of great things in the game,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “I thought we had more puck possession, I thought we outskated them, a lot of times I thought we outworked them. They were a little smarter than us.”
The Stars outshot the Blackhawks 33-31 on the night and directed 68 pucks towards the net to 47 for Chicago.
“We had some opportunities that we needed to bury, our power play needed to be better,” said Stars center Tyler Seguin. “If they get a sniff they are going to bear down and get those big goals, and that’s what they did.”
“I thought we played pretty well. Obviously, the result wasn’t there,” said Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon. “It’s frustrating. Every chance they had they capitalized on. They get one power play and they score on it.”
That one Chicago power play goal turned out to be the game-winning goal. The Stars were 0-6 on the power play, although they did score their first goal just seconds after a power play expired. However, the power play had chances to extend the lead two times in the game, failed to take advantage and Chicago scored a short time later to tie the game.
“We had some good chances, we were moving the puck around. They are a good team, their goalie made some good saves,” said Seguin. “We just had some chances we didn’t score on, a few times the puck was bouncing over our sticks. It’s how the game went.”
Chicago’s big guns delivered in the game. Marian Hossa scored two goals. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane both had a goal and an assist. Patrick Sharp had four assists.
“I think it’s kind of a good thing for our team if we have guys getting on the board,” said Toews. “We were hoping for a few more chances on the power play, but we took advantage of the one that we got.”
The Stars got back-to-back power plays early in the game and scored just seconds after the second one expired to take a 1-0 lead. Trevor Daley backhanded a puck on net and Cody Eakin scored on the ensuing scramble 6:10 into the game.
The Stars went on their third power play of the first period with 6:45 remaining, but couldn’t extend their lead. A little more than a minute-and-a-half after the Stars power play expired, the Blackhawks tied the game. Toews circled around the net and set up Hossa, who put the puck into the open side of the net.
The Stars took a 2-1 lead at 6;54 of the second period. Jamie Benn picked up a loose puck in the slot and set up Seguin, who beat Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford with a shot from the right circle.
The Stars went on a fourth power play with 12:21 left in the period, didn’t score and less than a minute after it expired the Blackhawks scored to tie the game at 2-2 when Toews scored off the rush. Kane backhanded a puck on net and Toews scored off a scramble in front of Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.
The Blackhawks went on their first power play with 2:08 left in the second and scored 23 seconds into it to take a 3-2 lead. After Eakin turned over the puck on a shorthanded rush, Chicago went the other way and Kane finished off a pass from Andrew Shaw with 1:45 left in the second.
“They took advantage of a big error,” said Ruff. “We had a big error on the penalty kill. We should have walked out of the second period maybe 2-2 at the worst.”
“That was a big goal,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. “It was a great goal for the power play and I thought overall, we played a real strong game discounting the penalties we took.”
Lehtonen came up big stopping Kane on a breakaway with 24 seconds left in the second to keep it a 3-2 game heading into the third period.
Lehtonen had a couple more big saves in the third to keep the Stars within a goal. Crawford was equally sharp at the other end, making some big saves including one on Seguin with 7:14 left.
Chicago extended its lead to 4-2 with 1:41 remaining when Sharp set up Hossa, who scored on a breakaway.
The Stars went on a power play with 1:18 remaining, pulled Lehtonen to make it a 6-on-4 advantage, but Chicago’s Niklas Hjalmarsson scored into the empty net from his own goal line to make it a 5-2 game.
The Blackhawks (11-2-4) extended their points streak to six games (5-0-1) with the victory. The Stars lost in regulation for just the second time in the last nine games (5-2-2) and are now 8-7-2 on the season.
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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.