The Chicago Blackhawks are beginning to pick up their play, evidenced by their performance in tonight’s game in Dallas. The Hawks trailed twice throughout the night and both times were able to rally back to even the score. After a scoreless 1st period, the Stars cashed in only eight seconds into the second frame, when Radek Faksa put a shot past Corey Crawford from an ugly angle (Shore, Hamhuis). The Blackhawks would respond. At 6:20, Tanner Kero took the puck hard to the net and made an outstanding pass to Ryan Hartman who one-timed the puck past Kari Lehtonen to even the game up (Hossa, Kero). At 8:34, Gustav Forsling took a slapshot that was redirected by former Blackhawk Patrick Sharp and into the net behind Lehtonen (Kruger, Seabrook). The Blackhawks would maintain a 2-1 lead heading into the 3rd period, which has not been their friend lately. Just forty seconds into the period, Jamie Benn made an elite move and put a perfect shot past Corey Crawford to draw the game even (Klingberg, Eakin). The Stars weren’t done yet, because Tyler Seguin took advantage of a costly Gustav Forsling turnover behind the Chicago net and proceeded to beat Crawford five-hole to give Dallas their second lead of the night. The Blackhawks weren’t ready to roll over, however. Only 25 seconds later, Patrick Kane was sent in on a mini-breakaway after an excellent pass was made by Artem Anisimov, and he made no mistake with his opportunity. Lehtonen had stopped Kane on a breakaway earlier in the night, but Kane had other plans for his second attempt. A quick forehand to backhand move left Lehtonen in the dust and the Blackhawks again tied the game up (Anisimov). At this point the Blackhawks had been outplaying Dallas all night, but had only led in the game for about twelve minutes and even trailed twice. For the first time in a long time, the Blackhawks came to play in the 3rd period. With only four minutes left in the game, Artemi Panarin carried the puck into the zone and found Artem Anisimov who took the puck to the net but was stopped by Kari Lehtonen. Trevor van Riemsdyk followed the entire play and found the puck sitting next to Lehtonen and he tucked it home to give the Hawks a crucial 4-3 lead late into the game. The Blackhawks would add on an empty-net goal by Jonathan Toews (Keith, Hossa) as well. A 5-3 win in Dallas at the end of the night, which pushed the Blackhawks record to 4-0-0 against Dallas this season. Corey Crawford stopped 31 of 34 shots faced tonight, and came up big in the later stages of the game. The Blackhawks improve to 32-17-5 on the season, and are off until Wednesday when they travel to Minnesota in arguably their biggest game of the season. The Blackhawks are stepping their game up as of late, having won two games straight after dropping three in-a-row. Expect them to come out with plenty of fire against the Wild.
Photo Credit: AP Photo/LM Otero