Maybe it’s because of the proximity of Chicago to Dallas. After all, they are one of the closest teams in terms of geography to Dallas. It could be the fact that since Chicago started winning the Stanley Cup in the 2000’s their fans seem to descend on the American Airlines Center like a red swarm of locusts. It could be that after realignment, games between these two clubs have been quite entertaining of late.
Whatever the reason, for Stars fans, watching their team win just seems to feel all that much sweeter when the team on the other end is Chicago. Now Dallas has gone and done it two times in a span of three days, with both contests needing extra time to decide the outcome.
It’s two big points against a team the Stars are clustered near in terms of standings. Against a divisional rival, that alone is enough to make the win that much the better. How did they do it tonight? In a myriad of ways, much like their game in Chicago on Thursday night.
The first period was a very even contest between both teams. The Stars and Blackhawks seemed to take a few minutes to feel one another out, and then each took turns in which they dominated play at moments the rest of the period. Dallas once again opened the scoring against Chicago when Alexander Radulov scored on the first power play chance of the game.
That power play looked dangerous nearly every time they were on the ice tonight, but most of the electricity seemed to come from that first unit (Radulov, Jason Spezza, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, John Klingberg). The second unit had a much more difficult time getting into the zone and getting setup to generate any kind of multiple-attempt shifts. Instead, they seemed to spend more time trying to dig pucks out of corners or even enter the zone past Chicago.
Given the even nature of the first period, it wasn’t all that surprising when Chicago scored the equalizer a few minutes later. That’s how the two teams would end the first, and both sides were probably glad to see their team still in it given how the other side was playing too.
The Stars came out strong to start the second period, and seemed to dominate more of the scoring chances in the frame. Radek Faksa continued his insane hot streak of scoring this week as he notched his 5th goal in the last three games.
Unfortunately, Dallas looked content to try to ride that one-goal lead into the intermission as they wound down the middle frame. Instead, they allowed the tying goal with 41 seconds left in the second, yet another late-period goal against for Dallas (it’s seemingly been a #thing this year).
Maybe that’s just how games against Chicago are supposed to go this year. Through five periods, the game had always been either tied or within a goal so far this season. The third period didn’t change that statistic much, either. Both teams had their chances, but it was one of those nights when you could just feel it was destined for overtime.
That overtime was a hockey fan’s dream – as long as you don’t care about your blood pressure level, anyway. There were a ton of chances by both teams, with each goaltender living right and catching some breaks at times. Five minutes of such pure north-south play was not enough, and the teams headed to the shootout.
A Radulov and a Seguin shootout goal later, and two big stops by Ben Bishop, and the Stars tallied their fourth win in a row.
It is, of course, superstition to think that the wearing of yellow skate laces in honor of Jere Lehtinen’s number retirement four games ago is in some way responsible for the current win streak Dallas finds themselves on. But it's a fun part of hockey (and Stars fandom) to believe it anyway. The real test will be tomorrow, when the Stars take on the Colorado Avalanche on the road. They've struggled mightily in Mile High City the last few years, and a win tomorrow would give them their longest win streak of the season at five and counting.
Embrace the power of the yellow skate laces, Stars fans.