The Dallas Stars rolled out a strong performance Thursday night against the Chicago Blackhawks, but it didn’t add up to two points. The Stars couldn’t hold a 2-1 third period lead and fell, 3-2, in a shootout before a sellout crowd of 18,768 at American Airlines Center.
“It’s disappointing not to get the win out of it,” said Stars center Jason Spezza. “We carried play for most of the night and then they got some momentum from the power plays in the third. For the most part, I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.”
“I felt for forty minutes we carried the game, played some good hockey,” said Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. “The last twenty we took some penalties and they got some momentum and we had the lead and they needed to come back so I thought we handled it ok. That’s something in our game we are going to have to get better at and it shows why they are a good team. They are patient for sixty minutes and found a way to win and that’s a level we have to get to.”
Daley and Cody Eakin scored goals for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 24 of 26 shots in the game and one of two shots in the skills competition. Duncan Keith and Patrick Sharp each notched a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks. Patrick Kane scored the lone goal of the shootout. Corey Crawford was superb in goal, stopping 32 of 34 shots and then three of three in the shootout.
“Crawford was fabulous,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We had a couple clear cut breakaways; we had odd-numbered situations, and he made big saves. “
“We have to call the cops; we stole two points tonight,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. “Crow was great; that first period, the second period even better. You know we got going in the third. Certainly call that a goalie win. I thought they were quick, and they came at us. Finally, we picked it up in the third. But certainly it was tough to watch for 40.”
The Stars dominated the first period, controlling play and outshooting the Blackhawks, 8-3. But Chicago scored the only goal when Keith beat Lehtonen with a shot from the right circle with 43.7 seconds left in the period.
The Stars controlled play again in the second, outshooting Chicago, 16-8, and scoring twice to take a 2-1 lead. Ales Hemsky set up Daley, who scored from the bottom of the right circle with Dallas on the power play to knot the game at 1-1 at 10:13 of the second period. Less than five minutes later, Eakin picked up a loose puck in the slot off the rush and beat Crawford with a wrist shot.
The Stars could have had a bigger lead, but Crawford was sharp in the second, stopping Ryan Garbutt and Shawn Horcoff breakaway bids and denying a quality opportunity from Eakin earlier in the period.
Chicago played a strong third, helped in part by the Stars putting them on three power plays. They outshot the Stars, 14-9, and tied the game 2-2 on a power play goal by Patrick Sharp, who scored on a blast from the top of the right circle at 11:10 of the third.
The Stars’ penalty kill came up big late in regulation. It killed off a Chicago power play for the final 1:55 of the third period and almost scored when Vernon Fiddler got off a great shorthanded chance.
In the shootout, Kane scored off a backhand shot for Chicago. Spezza, Tyler Seguin and Ales Hemsky all failed to beat Crawford.
Quotable: Stars center Jason Spezza on the power play
“We got one goal (on six opportunities). We were a little jittery early on, but that’s to be expected. We are forming a new unit together and learning tendencies. When you get a team like (Chicago), they have been together for a long time and know each other very well. We are still a work in progress, and I think our power play can be a lot better than it was tonight. I thought we showed glimpses of doing some good things.”
Quotable: Stars coach Lindy Ruff on Thursday’s game
“That was like a playoff game. The speed in that game was tremendous. Our fans got treated to one heck of a game. We just quite didn’t give them the results.”
*The Stars outshot the Blackhawks 34-26.
*Cody Eakin and Ales Hemsky led the Stars with four shots each.
*The Stars were 1-6 on the power play and 4-5 on the penalty kill.
*The Stars won 36 of 66 faceoffs (55 percent).
*Jason Spezza won 10 of 14 faceoffs (71 percent). Cody Eakin won 14 of 23 (61 percent). Tyler Seguin won 4 of 11 (36 percent).
*Alex Goligoski led the Stars with 26:12 of ice time.
*Antoine Roussel registered a game-high seven hits.
*Thursday’s attendance was 18,678, a sellout.
Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Valeri Nichushkin
Patrick Eaves – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Antoine Roussel – Cody Eakin – Ryan Garbutt
Shawn Horcoff – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Alex Goligoski – Trevor Daley
Brenden Dillon – Jordie Benn
Kevin Connauton – Patrik Nemeth
Scratched: Erik Cole, Jamie Oleksiak
Injured: Sergei Gonchar (ankle), Rich Peverley (heart)
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.