Sometimes, the bad games are going to happen over the course of an 82 game season. It’s how you respond after one of them that helps keep a loss in one game from starting a trend.
The Stars responded well today after getting played out of their own building against the St. Louis Blues on Friday night. Dallas forced the Chicago Blackhawks to play their style of game instead of playing into how the opposition wanted to play, unlike their last game. They limited the rush offense that the Blackhawks generally use to win games. They locked down their penalty killing for the most part, keeping a lot of the chances to the outside perimeter, and that gave Dallas the chance to win in a game where the special teams could have easily become a landslide of its own.
Dallas was able to take advantage of the ice afforded them in the high danger areas literally on the opposing goaltender’s lap to create offense, and then grind out another one-goal win. It’s what they’re really known for, after all.
At even strength, Dallas pretty much dominated the game play after the first couple of minutes. It looked even at first, like a bit of a feeling out period by both teams as they eased into this one. Then Dallas started to pour it on:
Pretty much all Dallas in that first period. pic.twitter.com/9VLerXNPWQ— Taylor Baird (@taylordbaird) February 23, 2020
Eventually, Corey Crawford was solved by the Stars for the first goal of the game. A loose puck landed at the feet of Joe Pavelski, who was uncovered all alone right on the doorstop. He wasted no time in putting it roof on Crawford and giving the Stars the 1-0 lead. It was his 14th of the season.
Near the end of the period, the Blackhawks would pull the shots on goal closer to even thanks to a power play. They had some quality looks, but weren’t able to find the tying goal on the man advantage.
Dallas would continue the parade to the penalty box that was started at the end of the first period into the middle frame, eventually giving Chicago five opportunities to crack Khudobin in an odd-man scenario.
Radek Faksa was the first to the box about five minutes into the period in which Chicago had pushed back on Dallas a bit. Just after the ensuing faceoff, Jonathan Toews committed an interference. The whistle sounded right as Dominik Kubalik ripped the puck past Khudobin. The goal was disallowed, and the two sides would go to 4-on-4 hockey for approximately 50 seconds.
That’s when Roope Hintz would get called for hi-sticking, putting the Blackhawks on a 4-on-3 power play opportunity. Kubalik got one to count then, tying the game up on a blistering shot from the circle past Khudobin’s glove hand. Alexander Radulov (slashing) and Jamie Oleksiak (interference) would add two more power play chances the other way on the ledger.
Finally, after the parade to the penalty box slowed its roll, the Stars were able to take advantage of their better-than-the-opposition even strength play. Jamie Benn had some excellent work protecting the puck with one hand and fending off the Chicago defenders with his other to setup a play in the offensive zone. He managed to get a pass through to Corey Perry, who was heading towards the net, who bobbled it and then kind of bunted the puck over to Tyler Seguin. Standing on the doorstep, Seguin kicked the puck down to his stick and flipped it over a sprawling Crawford to put Dallas up 2-1 for his 15th of the season.
Dallas would see some positive aspect of special teams in the period when Mattias Janmark got a breakaway. Duncan Keith hooked him as he went in for the scoring chance, and the referees awarded him a penalty shot. Janmark tried to wait the goalie out to make a move first, but Crawford tracked him well and was able to make an easy save on the attempt.
After having the opposition take their game to them last outing, the Stars had their typical grind-it-out style in the third period. They limited Chicago to just nine shots in the period, and shut the door on the 2-1 score to make it stand for the win.
It was hard for the team to get into a rhythm for much of this one because of all the time spent on the penalty kill for the second frame. That’s why a guy like Denis Gurianov had just one shift, and a weird time on ice overall. After the game, interim head coach Rick Bowness said that it’s tough to throw guys into the game after a period like the second was, because they’re cold and it’s not fair to put them into a tough game because they may not have success.
There were some odd line combinations that resulted from all the time spent on the kill. Bowness said that sometimes you just have to “get out of their way” when things seem to be clicking, and that’s what he did today. On the plus side, recent injuries and the philosophies of coaches past have prepared players on this team to play with any other guy.
After all, adversity is just another day at the office in Dallas.