The Dallas Stars playing the Chicago Blackhawks at home, the night before Thanksgiving, in 2022, had the stink of a trap game all over it. It seemed inevitable that this woebegone version of the Hawks would curdle the holiday gravy of the ascendant Stars, especially with Jason Dickinson lining up against his former team. Because it’s the Central Division, and it’s the law, or something.
But if you’ve ever actually seen a Stars game, you know better than to tune out before the very end. And with two goals from the nigh-invincible Jason Robertson, and five goals in the third period, they destroyed the narrative yet again.
Has anyone told the Stars they need to stop taking penalties? Especially to start the game? Jani Hakanpää went to the sin bin about two minutes after puck drop for tripping Patrick Kane. The kilt covered everything, and yet not two minutes after that 5-on-4 ended, Esa Lindell got whistled for hooking Philipp Kurashev.
Fortunately, the Victory Green Gang has Jake Oettinger. You’ve heard of him, right?
The matching majors Hakanpää and Jarred Tinordi took for fighting each other were slightly more entertaining, mostly since Hakanpää leapt into action because Tinordi hit Ty Dellandrea a little too enthusiastically.
All this hockeying was nice as far as it went, but Dallas fans have gotten a sip from the scoring hose and were feeling parched for goals by this time. The Blackhawks’ overwhelming advantages in shots on goal and blocked shots weren’t helping, either. But you know by now that Jason Robertson will not let that aggression stand. Take a look at this unassisted beauty (like you don’t already have it on repeat):
In the dying minutes of the period, the Blackhawks took a bench minor for too many men on the ice. Playing out the stupidest penalty available in any sport, anywhere, somehow seemed a fitting way to while away two minutes and get ready for intermission.
Score: Stars 1 - Blackhawks 0
Shots on goal: Stars 4 - Blackhawks 11
Blocked shots: Stars 5 - Blackhawks 11
Face-off wins: Stars 44% - Blackhawks 57%
Some things don’t change, and the Stars still can’t seem to resist helping other teams’ guys get off the schneid. Maybe they get extra points for hometown heroes – if so, Seth Jones’ first goal of the season, and his first after returning from long-term injured reserve, should hold them for a while.
GOAL FOR THE HOMETOWN KID pic.twitter.com/dXjHuEDDxU— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 24, 2022
The Stars coming out slow for the second period is a sight we’ve gotten way too accustomed to over the years. It wasn’t long before Andreas Athanasiou gave the Hawks their first lead of the game.
What you don't see much: A player getting around Miro Heiskanen and scoring a goal past Jake Oettinger. Andreas Athanasiou just did it.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) November 24, 2022
The cherry on the second-frame suck sundae? Giving Jonathan Toews his 500th career assist on Connor Murphy’s goal. But on the upside – no more penalties. That’s it. We’re done talking about this period.
Score: Stars 1 - Blackhawks 3
Shots on goal: Stars 12 - Blackhawks 16
Blocked shots: Stars 10 - Blackhawks 18
Face-off wins: Stars 47% - Blackhawks 53%
Could this be...more like it? The Stars seemed to shake off the stupor from the middle frame and came out swinging, literally – making up their SoG deficit and holding the Blackhawks to a single chance in the first 10 minutes.
But the deficit on the scoreboard persisted, and Max Domi extended it with an unassisted goal on that one shot, at 9:37. Need something to keep watching for? Sounds like a job for Jamie “Beast Mode” Benn, with big assists from Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski (and special thanks to professional botherer Domi for the tripping call on Benn that put the Stars on the power play).
And as if the seal were broken, here came Mason Marchment, helped out by Denis Gurianov in his own return from injury and Tyler “I’m Scoring Nearly A Point Per Game Again Like It’s Not Even A Thing” Seguin.
Not enough for you? How about the Stars coming all the way back mere seconds later with this Victory Green apple from Ty Dellandrea? Hakanpää, who seems to like helping the kids, got the primary assist, off a secondary from The Captain himself.
FOURTEEN SECONDS LATER, DELLY TIES IT UP!!! pic.twitter.com/9r7JLlFVC5— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 24, 2022
For the final, delightful holiday lagniappe, you could hardly do better than Radek Faksa bringing the gravy and licking it in the name of checking lines everywhere, with assists from Colin Miller and Ryan Suter.
Unless, of course, you got one more dagger from Robo, the first scorer and the last, as well as tonight’s happy empty-net roulette winner. Bonus: Hakanpää’s helper meant he got a two-point game, too.
If you’re wondering what just happened...well, here you go.
The Stars won, 6-4. They are 12-5-3. For the first time this season, Dallas won a game in which they trailed by multiple goals. Happy Thanksgiving.— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) November 24, 2022
Score: Stars 6 - Blackhawks 4
Shots on goal: Stars 37 - Blackhawks 31
Blocked shots: Stars 13 - Blackhawks 30
Face-off wins: Stars 54% - Blackhawks 46%
The Stars are back in the AAC on Black Friday, facing another #MurderDeathKill Division opponent in the Winnipeg Jets. See you then. Happy Thanksgiving!