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Stars can't get second point in OT loss to Chicago

Gemel Smith scores first two NHL goals, including late in regulation to force OT

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

The Dallas Stars scored late to force extra playing time in Chicago Sunday night, but they remained winless in overtime this season, falling 4-3 to the Blackhawks at United Center.

Marian Hossa scored with 28.7 seconds left in overtime to give Chicago the victory, spoiling a great effort from Stars rookie Gemel Smith, who scored his first two NHL goals including the game-tying tally with 1:20 left in regulation.

"It was good to get the first [goal] out of the way. I think we played pretty well and deserved a better fate," Smith said. "It would have been better with a win, but at least we got a point."

Smith, who scored shorthanded earlier in the second period, tied it late in the third by setting up in the slot and deflecting a John Klingberg shot past Chicago goaltender Scott Darling to knot the game at 3-3 with 80 seconds left in regulation.

The Stars went on the power play 50 seconds into overtime, but Darling came up with the save of the game when he got his skate on a point-blank bid from Patrick Eaves to keep it a tie game.

"He made a great save on me," Eaves said. "That was the look we wanted. It just didn't go in."

After the teams were back to even strength - three-on-three in overtime - Hossa scored on a blast from the high slot past screened Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen to give Chicago a sweep in the home-and-home series between the two teams.

"These are hard losses," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "We had our opportunity with a power play in overtime. Patty Eaves had a great opportunity on the power play. There's your opportunity to win a game. We fought hard to get back into it."

Special teams were a focus for the Stars heading into this game but ended up being a mixed bag. They scored on one power play and tallied shorthanded, but gave up two four-on-four goals and then missed on the power play chance in overtime before giving up a three-on-three goal in the extra period. They are now 0-3 in three-on-three overtime this season.

Along with the two goals from Smith, Tyler Seguin also scored for Dallas. Goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 29 of 33 shots. The loss was the fifth in the past six games (1-3-2) for the Stars, who are missing six forwards due to injury or illness and dressed defenseman Patrik Nemeth as a forward Sunday. The Stars are now 4-5-3 on the season.

"I don't want to use manpower as an excuse," Ruff said. "These last two nights we have played well enough to win. There's been opportunities to win the game, and we haven't got the job done."

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews registered three points (one goal, two assists) and Darling stopped 32 of 35 shots for Chicago, which won its sixth straight game and improved to 9-3-1 on the season.

"No one is focused on the win streak we are on," Toews said. "We are just focusing on every game, and that's a good thing we've got going right now."

The Stars killed off two Chicago power plays in the first period and then got their first chance with the man advantage just over 14 minutes into the game and scored for the game's first goal. Antoine Roussel won a puck battle in front of the net and made a nice pass to Seguin, who scored into an open net from the right side at the 15:34 mark.

The Stars penalty kill came up big on Chicago's third power play, this time with a goal as Smith drove the net on a shorthanded breakaway and roofed the puck over Darling to put the Stars ahead 2-0 at 8:29 of the second period.

"His speed has created opportunities," Ruff said. "Every game he is getting two or three opportunities."

The Blackhawks cut the lead to one less than two minutes later when Toews set up Patrick Kane, who scored on Lehtonen from close range at 10:24 mark of the second.

The Blackhawks scored two goals in 56 seconds while the teams were playing four-on-four to grab a 3-2 lead in the third period. Hossa set up Toews on the rush and Chicago captain scored on a tap-in to tie the game 2-2 at 3:39 of the third period. Toews then drove down the right wing off the rush and set up Artem Anisimov, who scored from the top of the crease to make it 3-2 at the 4:35 mark.

That set the stage for Smith's late goal to get the Stars to overtime, where they couldn't take advantage of a power play chance and Chicago picked up the extra point.

"It was good we showed resilience out there and got that goal late," Eaves said. "It would have been nice to have that extra point, but unfortunately we did not get it."

Notes: Spezza day to day

*Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Jason Spezza, who suffered a lower-body injury in Saturday's game against Chicago and did not play Sunday, is day to day. Spezza is traveling with the team on the road trip.

*There was not much new on forward Jiri Hudler, who remains out with illness. Ruff said tests on Hudler did not show anything. Hudler is not close to returning at this point, Ruff said.

*The Stars outshot the Blackhawks 35-33. Shot attempts were even at 59-59.

*Tyler Seguin led the Stars with 7 shots on goal and 8 shot attempts. Gemel Smith had 6 shots on goal.

*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill.

*The Stars have been outscored 3-1 during four-on-four play this season and 3-0 during three-on-three play.

*The Stars won 35 of 82 faceoffs (43 percent).

*Tyler Seguin won 10 of 17 faceoffs (59 percent). Gemel Smith won 6 of 12 (50 percent). Jamie Benn won 6 of 18 (33 percent). Radek Faksa won 6 of 20 (30 percent).

*John Klingberg led the Stars with 25:33 of ice time. Jamie Benn was next with 24:22.

What's Next

The Stars continue their five-game road trip Tuesday when they play at Winnipeg. The Stars are 1-1-0 against the Jets this season, winning 3-2 in Dallas on Oct. 25 and losing 4-1 at Winnipeg on Oct. 27.

Stars Lineup

Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Patrick Eaves
Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Brett Ritchie
Curtis McKenzie - Gemel Smith - Adam Cracknell
Patrik Nemeth - Devin Shore - Lauri Korpikoski

Johnny Oduya - Stephen Johns
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Jordie Benn

Kari Lehtonen
Antti Niemi

Scratched: Jamie Oleksiak, Justin Dowling
Injured: Jason Spezza (lower body), Jiri Hudler (illness), Patrick Sharp (concussion), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee), Ales Hemsky (hip)

Watch: Postgame Quotes

Lindy Ruff: "We fought hard to get back into it."

Gemel Smith: 'I think the boys played pretty good and we deserved a better fate."

This story was not subject to 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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