It’s a wrap! Despite having a rough start, the Dallas Stars rode a stellar second period over the Chicago Blackhawks. The win marked the fourth consecutive victory for the Stars and gives them a 4-1-0 record since the All-Star break.
But perhaps more importantly, the Stars have now officially swept the Blackhawks for the first time in over a decade (as discussed earlier today). Sure, Chicago hasn’t been the typical powerhouse that they have been in years past (they are last in the Central Division), but they’re far from a pushover.
So let’s celebrate a hard fought series sweep and hope the Stars put off an even better showing tomorrow night when the Pittsburgh Penguins come to town.
The first 30 seconds foreshadowed how much of the period would go: the Blackhawks won the faceoff and immediately pounced into the offensive zone, setting up and getting a couple of shots off. The two teams proceeded to trade the puck back and forth several times, with Chicago getting a good amount of pressure on Ben Bishop early.
A little less than 6 minutes in, John Klingberg was sent to the box for a delay of game and the Blackhawks went on the powerplay. The Stars got a pair of potential shorthanded chances and manage to kill off the penalty, although the Blackhawks remained in the offensive zone for a bit longer after Klingberg returned.
About halfway into the period, an offensive turnover by the Stars led to Jonathan Toews streaking down the left side. He fired a quick shot off that sailed past Bishop’s right side, and the Hawks drew the first blood of the night. Toews would get another chance to score about 2 minutes later when Alex DeBrincat passed it over on a rush, but the puck just eluded his reach and sailed past him.
As the period began to wound down, the Stars began to get more aggressive in the offensive zone and eventually took the lead in shots on goal. Jason Spezza drew a slashing penalty against Tommy Wingels with a minute left, but the Stars were unable to convert and headed into the locker room trailing by one.
Shots: Dallas 14, Chicago 12
Score: Dallas 0, Chicago 1
The second period was very sluggish to start off, with not much happening save the occasional shot on net by Chicago. About five minutes in, however, the Stars began to get some decent chances, and a Blackhawks turnover led the puck to Alexander Radulov. He skated down the left side and then slid the puck over to Tyler Seguin, who popped it over Anton Forsberg to put the Stars on the board. A minute later, the Stars were back in the offensive zone and Remi Elie passed the puck from the corner up to Stephen Johns, who fired a hammer that soon found itself in the back of the net, putting Dallas in the lead.
The momentum shift wouldn’t last long, however, as Jamie Benn took a high sticking minor about 30 seconds later. The Stars were able to kill off the penalty despite several quality chances by the Blackhawks, but two minutes later a sequence of events led to a potential Julius Honka concussion (sending him down the tunnel) and an Alexander Radulov hooking penalty, sending the Hawks back on the powerplay. This time they would succeed, as a bounce off the backboards sent the puck straight to Artem Anisimov, who chipped it in to tie the game up.
With about five minutes left, a puck hit Martin Hanzal in the left leg and the team had to help him off the ice. The end of the period seemed to be all Chicago, as the Blackhawks got scoring chance after scoring chance. Ben Bishop stayed strong, however, and a turnover in the dying seconds of the period led to a Tyler Pitlick shot just a couple feet past the blue line which found it’s way past Anton Forsberg, and the Stars finished the period with the lead.
Shots: Dallas 23, Chicago 29
Score: Dallas 3, Chicago 2
Martin Hanzal returned to the ice, but not Julius Honka, at the start of the third period. The Blackhawks and Stars both game out playing aggressively, trading the puck back and forth and each getting some decent chances. About 6-7 minutes in, Tommy Wingels missed a wide open net opportunity when the puck rebounded off Ben Bishop, hitting the post as he failed to tie the game up.
A little more than halfway into the period, Wingels name came up again as he delivered a massive hit against Alexander Radulov. Jamie Benn immediately jumped towards Wingels in Radulov’s defense, but the gloves never dropped. Instead, Benn was sent to the box for unsportsmanlike conduct, and Dallas was a man down yet again. But Ben Bishop and the Stars stayed strong and killed off their third power play of the night.
As the minutes winded down, the Blackhawks began to grow more and more desperate. With a little more than two minutes left, Anton Forsberg headed to the bench and the Blackhawks began a relentless series of attacks. But Dallas was able to clear the puck multiple times, and Tyler Seguin was able find the twine from center ice to seal Chicago’s fate.
Final Shots: Dallas 30, Chicago 39
Final Score: Dallas 4, Chicago 2