The Dallas Stars had the better of play Thursday night in Chicago, but it didn't add up to a win. Despite a 44-26 advantage in shots on goal, the Stars fell, 3-2, in a shootout to the Blackhawks at United Center.
Missed opportunities proved costly. The Stars couldn't cash in on a couple of prime scoring chances to win the game. Brett Ritchie shot wide on a great chance not long after the Stars had tied the game 2-2 in the third period. Jamie Benn was stopped on a good opportunity in overtime and Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford turned away Remi Elie on a breakaway in the extra period.
"Incredible. You have to give Crawford credit on some of the saves," said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. "But at the same time, we missed some beauties. We probably doubled them up on chances. We worked hard. We deserved a better fate."
Ales Hemsky scored both goals in regulation, and Tyler Seguin tallied in the shootout for the Stars (29-33-11). Kari Lehtonen made 24 saves on 26 shots in regulation and overtime and stopped one of three in the shootout.
"I think we played a good game from the start," said Hemsky. "We finally feel like a team, and if we can play like that, we can play with anybody. We shot the puck deep; we didn't give them that many opportunities. Maybe in the third a little bit, when they picked up the tempo they had us, but it was a pretty solid game."
The Blackhawks (48-20-6) ran their points streak to seven games (6-0-1) and moved eight points ahead of Minnesota in the race for first place in the Central Division. Crawford's 42 saves in the game matched his high for the season.
"[Crawford] played amazing tonight," said Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane. "Reason we won the game and hats off to him. He's done that a lot this year. He was outstanding tonight."
The Stars outshot the Blackhawks 13-7 in the first period, but the Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead to the first intermission. Both teams had two power plays in the period, and Chicago scored on its first one. After Benn shot wide on a shorthanded odd-man rush, Chicago got a two-on-one going the other way and Kane scored to put Chicago up 1-0 at the 8:13 mark.
The Stars had a good chance to tie late in the period, but Stars forward Patrick Sharp lost control of the puck as he broke in alone on net and couldn't get a quality shot on net.
The Stars had a 14-6 shots advantage in the second period and got the equalizer at the 12:16 mark, just 30 seconds after Stars defenseman Dan Hamhuis and Chicago forward Ryan Hartman picked up fighting majors. Benn skated through traffic in the offensive zone and backhanded the puck along the boards to John Klingberg and Klingberg then set up Hemsky, who scored from the slot to make it a 1-1 game.
Chicago's Marian Hossa scored from the slot off the rush to put the Blackhawks up 2-1 at the 8:37 mark of the third period. Hemsky drew the Stars even at the 14:51 mark, putting the rebound of an Esa Lindell shot into the open side of the net to make it a 2-2 game.
The Stars killed off a Chicago power play late in regulation and into early overtime. The Blackhawks had the puck for most of overtime, but the Stars had the better chances including the Elie breakaway that Crawford stopped.
In the shootout, Seguin scored to give the Stars the early lead, but Kane and Artemi Panarin both scored on backhand shots for the Blackhawks while Crawford turned away Benn and Hemsky to give Chicago the second point.
*The Stars went 0-3-2 against Chicago this season.
*The Stars are 3-11 in games that have gone beyond regulation this season. They are 0-2 in shootouts and 3-9 in three-on-three overtime.
*The 44 shots on goal in Thursday's game were a season-high for the Stars.
*The Stars had a 64-50 advantage in shot attempts.
*Ales Hemsky led the Stars with seven shots on goal.
*Hemsky has scored three goals in the past four games.
*The Stars were 0-3 on the power play and 3-4 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 36 of 66 faceoffs (55 percent). Cody Eakin won 9 of 15 faceoffs (60 percent). Radek Faksa won 13 of 22 (59 percent).
*John Klingberg led the Stars with 27:33 of ice time. Esa Lindell was next with 25:53.
The Stars return home to take on the San Jose Sharks Friday night. The Stars defeated the Sharks, 1-0, at American Airlines Center on Monday. This will be the third and final meeting of the season between the Stars and Sharks.
Jamie Benn - Cody Eakin - Ales Hemsky
Remi Elie - Tyler Seguin - Brett Ritchie
Devin Shore - Radek Faksa - Patrick Sharp
Curtis McKenzie - Adam Cracknell - Jiri Hudler
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Patrik Nemeth - Jamie Oleksiak
Scratched: Stephen Johns
Injured: Jason Spezza (back), Antoine Roussel (hand), Mattias Janmark (knee)
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 DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.