The Blackhawks defeated the Dallas Stars 4-2 on Tuesday at the United Center.
Here are 10 observations from the win:
1. This was a big win for the Blackhawks, even though it got dicey late. The Stars went into this contest trailing Chicago by only three points with three games in hand, and by picking up two points in regulation, the Blackhawks have forced the Stars to need at least five out of a possible six points to pull within a tie in the standings.
2. Kevin Lankinen was solid in this game. He stopped the first 19 shots he faced and finished with 25 saves on 27 shots for a save percentage of .926. Perhaps his most important one came on Rhett Gardner's shot from 14-feet out at the 9:04 mark of the second period. The Blackhawks scored 35 seconds later to make it 2-0 and eventually extended their lead to 3-0.
3. Patrick Kane and Kirby Dach connected for a goal just 65 seconds into the game, but the Stars challenged for offside and won it. The good news? Kane and Dach connected for a second time in the first period and this one actually counted. It was Dach's first goal of the season and first since Feb. 15, 2020, which is more than a calendar year.
4. Alex DeBrincat scored his 20th goal of the season for the third time in his NHL career. He also became the fourth player to hit that total this season, joining Mikko Rantanen (21), Connor McDavid (22) and Auston Matthews (27). He probably would've hit that number quicker if he didn't miss four games while in the NHL's COVID-19 protocol.
5. The Blackhawks went five straight games without giving their opponent more than one power-play in a game but that streak came to end. The Stars had two of them on Tuesday, but the Blackhawks shut the door and improved to 14-for-15 on the penalty kill in five games against the Stars this season.
6. The Stars are a very good third-period team and they showed it again. They scored twice in the final frame against the Blackhawks and increased their third-period goal differential to +15, which ranks third in the NHL. They have a -5 goal differential in the first two periods combined.
7. Vinnie Hinostroza, who was acquired by the Blackhawks on Friday, was inserted into the lineup and played on a line with Dominik Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev. He recorded a primary assist on Kubalik's 13th goal of the season and also had three shot attempts (one on goal), three hits and one takeaway in 9:47 of ice time. He certainly made his presence felt.
8. The Blackhawks gave up a shorthanded goal for the second straight game and have now allowed five of them all season, which is tied for the most in the league. Boston is the only other team that's given up five, too.
9. The Blackhawks have struggled all season long in the faceoff department, but this was one of their better games as of late. They won 28 of 46 faceoffs through two periods and finished 37 of 66 for a win percentage of 56.1. Pius Suter led the way with 11 wins and six losses.
10. Stars head coach Rick Bowness was not behind the bench because of the NHL's COVID-19 protocol. He could rejoin the team for Thursday's game if a second test result comes back negative. Assistant coach John Stevens has served as the interim head coach for the time being.