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Dallas Stars Drop Opener 3-2 in Shootout to Chicago Blackhawks

The Stars didn't get the result they wanted on opening night, but stood toe-to-toe with Chicago in a wildly entertaining back and forth affair.

Ronald Martinez

A summer of exciting acquisitions and raised expectations ended, and finally there was nothing left to do but just play some hockey. So how did the new-look Dallas Stars perform in their opener against possibly the best team in hockey?

Quickly.

The speed we came to know and love last season was, evidently, only enhanced over hockey's summer vacation- And the Chicago Blackhawks, known for a bit of that themselves, even had a pretty hard time dealing with it.

Dallas dominated long stretches of play to open the game, giving Chicago no time or room with which to work while peppering Corey Crawford with quality chances as the game moved back and forth at a crowd-pleasing pace.

They didn't finish enough, however, and let the Hawks off the mat, dropping the decision in a shootout 3-2.

The Blackhawks opened the scoring, improbably, without first achieving what most coaching staffs would call an actual "scoring chance" when Duncan Keith's modest bid from near circle found its way past Kari Lehtonen to deflate what was otherwise a stellar first period.

Dallas allowed just three shots in the first period and out-attempted Chicago by a margin of 24-11 in the frame.

The second period brought more of the same with quality chances for Chicago seldom coming, while Corey Crawford continued to frustrate the Stars as Shawn Horcoff and Brenden Dillon had breakaway opportunities turned away.

Trevor Daley finally broke the seal for the good guys at the game's midway point when an Ales Hemsky pass found him to Crawford's left on the power play. Daley fumbled receipt of the pass but made a great play, batting it down and putting it past Crawford in one motion to knot the game at one.

Five minutes later Cody Eakin would put the Stars ahead when Ryan Garbutt lost the puck in the slot and the ginger ninja picked it up neatly and beat Crawford top-shelf.

Kevin Connauton would leave late in the second period after being hit with a shot in his (neck? head? no one in the press box was quite sure), but would return to start the third.

The third period was a different story as the Hawks finally started to stem the tide and soon it was Kari Lehtonen under fire. Dallas barely escaped a penalty kill spent entirely in their own end, and then some at its conclusion.

They weren't so fortunate the next time, however, when Jordie Benn was called for holding the stick, while the Chicago player in question also held his, somehow, and Patrick Sharp beat Kari Lehtonen on yet another shot from distance to tie the game at two.

Nervous moments for both sides would carry us the rest of the way as the frenetic pace of the first 40 minutes slowed to a grinding halt and the team's traded icing and offside calls down the stretch.

Nervous moments would turn into what felt like certain death when with two minutes remaining the robustly bearded Jordie Benn would knock a puck into the stands in his own end, entitling Chicago to an extra man the rest of the way.

That was when Vern Fiddler tried his best to end Corey Crawford, barreling into the netminder after failing to convert a shorthanded scoring chance on a feed from Jamie Benn. All parties would get up unscathed, and the Stars survived the waning seconds to earn a point and a trip to OT.

Toews and Kane dominated that stretch, so we won't dwell. A shootout, the poorest way to decide such a fine, fine contest, ensued.

Spezza did something no one should ever, ever try again. No goal.

Toews deked but Kari got just enough of it as he leaned to his right.

Seguin missed the net altogether, and Crawford really isn't getting tested at all here.

Patrick Kane scored.

Ales Hemsky lost the puck entirely, and Crawford again did nothing.

And that was it.

The better team tonight did not win the hockey game. But such is life. A lot of positives to take out of that and Brandon will be back with more thoughts in a bit.

What did you think?