The Chicago Blackhawks were looking to make a statement against the top-ranked team in the Western Conference, but Patrick Sharp and the Dallas Stars had other ideas as they cruised to a 4-0 victory.
Another former Blackhawks player played an instrumental role in the game, as Antti Niemi picked up his third shutout of the season in whitewashing his former club.
The Blackhawks could have reasonably expected a track meet game against the Stars on Tuesday night, but the teams played at a relatively slow pace in the first period of the game. The Blackhawks didn’t manage a single shot on goal on either of their two power plays of the period, and the Stars’ top line of Tyler Seguin, Patrick Sharp, and Jamie Benn was held without a shot as the teams played to a scoreless draw over the first 20 minutes of play.
As the second period got underway, the pace picked up considerably, and both goaltenders did a nice job to keep the game scoreless. Antti Niemi stoned Artemi Panarin on a one-timer off a 2-on-1 rush, and then did the same to Brandon Mashinter as he tried a wraparound shot. Rob Scuderi also had a shot on a pinch in from the point, but he too was denied.
On a Stars power play later in the period, Crawford made several big saves on Seguin off of one-timers, but a well-placed shot by Jason Spezza got the Stars on the board. On a give-and-go with Patrick Sharp at the point, Spezza hit the zone with speed and somehow squeezed a shot between Crawford’s leg pad and the near post to put Dallas up 1-0.
Penalties continued to rule the day as Patrick Kane was sent off for hooking, and a few minutes later Niklas Hjalmarsson and Antoine Roussel were sent off after a post-icing scrum. Neither team was able to score though, as Crawford and Niemi continued to stand tall through the end of the frame.
Just 11 seconds into the third period, the Blackhawks gave up another goal to fall further behind. This time it was former Blackhawk Patrick Sharp doing the honors, as he flew up the ice and fired a shot over Crawford’s blocker to give the Stars a 2-0 advantage.
A few minutes later, Dallas scored again to continue the onslaught. On a great play by Antoine Roussel, he forced a puck out to the point for Jordie Benn, and the defenseman’s shot was deflected by Colton Sceviour to put Dallas up 3-0.
The Stars got two more power play opportunities as the period wore on, but the Blackhawks ended up with more long-term concerns as Rob Scuderi went down with an injury. On a shot from Goligoski, the puck deflected up off the ice and drilled the veteran defenseman in the face, requiring him to go to the dressing room for medical attention.
The Stars continued to fire away as the period wore on, and they added another insurance goal late in the period. After skating away from Trevor van Riemsdyk in the corner, Mattias Janmark fired a cross-ice pass intended for Eaves, but it ultimately deflected off of Michal Rozsival’s skate and put Dallas ahead 4-0.