Patrick Kane notched a goal and two assists, and Brad Richards got two assists in his 1,000th career NHL game as the Chicago Blackhawks used a massive third period push to beat the Dallas Stars by a score of 6-2 on Sunday night.
Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad all scored for the Blackhawks as they triumphed easily in the final game before their annual circus trip. Corey Crawford made 22 saves in the victory.
Just over a minute into the game, the Blackhawks got on the board quickly thanks to an excellent transition play. After Corey Crawford made a save on Cody Eakin at one end, Brad Richards got the puck and flipped a pass off the boards to Kris Versteeg. The winger held at the line and fed a pass to Kane, who broke into the zone on a 2-on-1 rush. When Jordie Benn and Kari Lehtonen both committed to Kane’s side of the net, he slid a pass across to Keith, who tapped in the easy shot and gave Chicago a 1-0 lead.
The Blackhawks’ lead was short-lived, however, as the Stars quickly tied things up. Erik Cole broke into the offensive zone and slammed on the breaks, and fed a pass between Brent Seabrook’s skates. Curtis McKenzie got inside position on Keith on the rush, and he deflected a shot in past Crawford to tie things up at 1-1.
Less than a minute later, Dallas seized the lead. The Stars moved the puck around the zone with impunity for several seconds, and eventually it worked its way to Shawn Horcoff near the side of the net. With Michal Rozsival on the opposite side of the crease, Horcoff had all day to tap the puck in, and in the blink of an eye it was 2-1 Dallas.
Things went from bad to worse for the Blackhawks a few minutes later as Trevor van Riemsdyk blocked a shot by Trevor Daley. He limped off the ice, and after being worked on by the Hawks’ training staff, he headed to the locker room and was ruled out for the rest of the evening.
The Hawks got brighter news a few minutes later as Daley was sent to the box for a penalty, and they scored on the ensuing power play. After some good puck movement by the Blackhawks, Ben Smith found himself screening Lehtonen in front of the net. Seabrook took full advantage of the situation, firing in a shot that Jamie Benn inadvertently deflected past his own goaltender to tie things up for Chicago at 2-2.
Chicago did get one more power play late in the first period, but they were unable to get anything going this time. Brad Richards did get one good chance in on goal, but Lehtonen made the save and allowed his team to make it to the first intermission with the score tied at 2-2.
The second period started out painfully for the Hawks, with Seabrook slamming into the boards after breaking up a Dallas rush. He was slow to get up, and it took him a few minutes to get the kinks worked out on the bench, but he was eventually able to stay in the game for the defensively short-handed Blackhawks.
Neither team was able to get much going offensively early in the frame, and not even a mid-period power play for Chicago was enough to spark things. Richards again had a good chance on the man-advantage as he played some aggressive hockey at the point, but Lehtonen made the save and Jamie Benn whacked the puck out of the crease to end the opportunity.
The Blackhawks got another power play very late in the second period, but despite some good chances when it resumed in the third period, they couldn’t score. Kane had the best chance of all in front of the net when a rebound landed at his skates, but his shot ended up finding Lehtonen’s leg pad instead.
Undeterred, Kane made it his mission to get back onto the scoresheet, and he did just that. With about 15 minutes left in the game, Kane slid in toward the goal when Richards collected the puck near the goal line. Lehtonen went down into a butterfly as he bit on Richards’ shot fake, and when Kane received a pass he didn’t miss, firing a shot just under the crossbar to make it a 3-2 game.
The Blackhawks continued firing away at the net as the period went on, and they were rewarded with a goal explosion in the final eight minutes of the game. Things got started when Lehtonen made a stop outside of the goal crease, and couldn’t find his way back into position. Toews took full advantage of the situation, grabbing the rebound and firing in a wraparound shot to put Chicago up by a 4-2 margin.
A few moments later, Chicago struck again. Richards got the puck along the boards and back-tapped a pass to the middle of the ice. Versteeg got it there and ripped a slap shot one-timer past Lehtonen to make it 5-2. Saad got in on the action about a minute later as he chipped a puck past John Klingberg, and when Toews received that pass he quickly fed one back to Saad and allowed him to get the tap-in goal to extend the Chicago lead to 6-2.
The Stars did get a late power play thanks to a Daniel Carcillo penalty, but they weren’t able to convert as the Hawks finished off the victory and headed into the circus trip with a bang.
That trip will begin on Thursday night as the Blackhawks head to Calgary to take on the Flames.