Before tonight’s game, Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg spoke to the media for the first time since he and his fiancee welcomed daughter Elsa to the world early Sunday morning. He said that there really hadn’t been much in the way of sleep in the past 48 hours.
You never would have known it based on his performance tonight.
Klingberg scored one of the Stars’ six goals in a statement-making win over the Chicago Blackhawks, the team they are in a battle with for the fourth playoff spot in the Central Division this year. After he scored, team dad Joe Pavelski was seen collecting the puck, presumably so Klingberg can mark the occasion as only hockey players do.
Then, team dad went out and scored himself a goal, giving Dallas a 4-1 lead at that point in the game and really putting it out of reach for the Blackhawks with more than half a game to go.
As Klingberg said after the game, “Scoring is fun.”
Though he didn’t score himself, Jason Robertson was a catalyst for most of the offense tonight. He was involved in four for the Stars’ six goals, matching the franchise record for assists in one game with four set by Roland Eriksson in 1976 and matched by Jere Lehtinen in 1996.
Joel Kiviranta got the scoring going off a glorious feed from Roope Hintz on a play that Robertson started that was reminiscent of the playoffs last fall. Jamie Benn helped make the lead 2-0 late in the third period when his shot rebounded off Malcolm Subban and landed right in front of Jamie Oleksiak, who was uncovered in the slot.
Though the Blackhawks cut the lead to just one goal early into the second period courtesy of Mattias Janmark’s revenge, Klingberg’s goal was able to restore the multi-goal lead. From there, the rout was truly on. After Pavelski’s tally, Esa Lindell got in on the scoring party on a shot from the high slot area thanks to a heads-up play by Robertson.
The Stars capped off the goal scoring early in the third period when Roope Hintz swatted Robertson’s pass out of the air, spring training style.
Though the score was well in their favor, the Stars weren’t just the beneficiaries of poor goaltending on the other side of the ice. Dallas was relentless on the puck, winning a lot of puck battles. They had a great forecheck that Chicago didn’t have much of an answer for. The power play actually scored for a change. And, even more surprisingly, the penalty kill didn’t give up a goal.
The real trick will be whether the Stars can take this point streak (2-0-1 since this weekend) and go on a run to turn their season’s fortunes around. With games in hand, they need it — and the Chicago squad from tonight is going to be very, very difficult after getting beat so soundly tonight. After all, they’re playing for their playoff lives too.