The Dallas Stars held the lead four different times on Sunday night, but they just couldn’t hold on as Patrick Sharp’s overtime goal lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-4 victory at the United Center.
Patrick Kane, Brad Richards, Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad all scored goals for the Blackhawks as they bounced back from a New Year’s Day loss to the Washington Capitals with a big victory.
The Stars have been winning a ton of games lately, and that momentum seems to have carried over to this game as they scored quickly to take the lead. After a loose puck bounced out to the front of the net, Jamie Benn picked it up and flipped it into the empty net to give Dallas a 1-0 lead.
Just a few minutes later, the Blackhawks responded with a goal of their own to tie things up. Brent Seabrook rifled in a shot from the point that Kari Lehtonen saved, but Jonathan Toews collected a rebound and fed a pass across the slot to Saad. The youngster grabbed it and one-timed a shot past Lethonen to tie things up at 1-1 about five minutes into the game.
The first period concluded with the Hawks doing a nice job of generating scoring chances, but they couldn’t convert. Toews had the best chance of all on a Chicago power play, but his rebound attempt off a Seabrook shot wouldn’t go through as the game remained tied through 20 minutes of play.
The second period started out with an especially frantic pace, and the Stars took advantage to take the lead. Erik Cole and Ales Hemsky played catch with the puck on the way into the offensive zone on a 3-on-2 rush, and eventually Jordie Benn pinched in from the point and one-timed a shot past Crawford to make it a 2-1 game.
Just a few moments later, the Blackhawks took their turn and tied things up. On a 2-on-1 rush, Sharp brought in the puck, had Jason Demers collapse in on him, and fed a pass across to Kane. The sniper didn’t miss, ripping a wrist shot past Lehtonen to tie the game at 2-2.
The incredible pace continued about five minutes into the frame, and Dallas scored again. This time it was Cole doing the scoring himself, collecting the puck near the goal line and firing a shot over Crawford’s shoulder and just under the crossbar to tie the game at 3-3.
The Blackhawks failed on one power play as the second period wore on, but when they got another one they made Dallas pay to tie things up again. Richards got a pass from Brent Seabrook after the defenseman made a great play to keep the puck in the zone, and when the center fired a shot toward the net, Bickell deflected it into the goal to make it a 3-3 game.
As the third period got underway, Dallas continued their pattern and scored early on to give themselves the lead again. Cole scored his second goal of the game as Crawford scrambled for positioning in his crease, and Dallas seized a 4-3 advantage.
After some intense back and forth action, the Blackhawks finally were able to establish possession in the offensive zone, and they scored with about four minutes remaining to tie the game. After a rebound surrendered by Lehtonen, Richards skated over to the corner of the ice and wired in a shot from a difficult angle that somehow bounced off the goaltender’s pads and tied the game at 4-4.
Neither team was able to score in the closing minutes, but when overtime started, Chicago ended it just over a minute into the extra frame. Duncan Keith made a marvelous play at the point to feed a pass across the ice to Sharp, and the forward’s shot bounced off Lehtonen and into the goal to give Chicago the huge victory over a divisional rival.