Hawks Win Streak Ends with Loss to Stars

On a night when three of their division rivals played a game, the Chicago Blackhawks were the only team in their division that ended the evening without a point. 

Steve Ott, Michael Ryder and Loui Eriksson each tallied for the Dallas Stars, as they downed the Blackhawks 3-1 at the United Center tonight. 

Chicago started off slow in the first period, allowing Dallas to take advantage using their speed to generate a few early scoring chances. The roles reversed, however, in the second period, as the Blackhawks upped their physical play significantly and were able to induce more shots on Stars' netminder Richard Bachman. 

That consistent effort by the Hawks is what led to Marian Hossa's goal about midway through the second period. Michael Frolik and Jamal Mayers crashed the net with the puck to create a rebound that popped right out onto Hossa's stick, allowing him to shovel it into the net to make it 1-0 in favor of Chicago. 

But despite having won the last four games in a row, Chicago couldn't hold the 1-0 lead midway through the third period when Ott's deflection tally set up from the point by Trevor Daley tied the game at one. 

And from there, it was all Dallas.

Using a similar strategy to their first goal, Dallas forward Mike Ribeiro fired a shot from long-range with about five minutes left in the third period that was easily deflected by Michael Ryder past Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford to put the Stars up 2-1. 

At this point, the Blackhawks looked completely lost in their own defensive zone, allowing Dallas to easily put the game away when Michael Ryder lifted a wrister towards the top right corner, which took a crazy deflection and sailed over Crawford and just under the crossbar as Loui Eriksson tapped the puck into the net to make it 3-1. 

One of the most significant factors that made a difference in the first and third periods for Dallas and really wore down the Blackhawks, was Chicago's inability to match Dallas' hitting game. The Blackhawks were out-hit by the Stars 41-15, which did a significant number in keeping the Hawks from maintaining a fore check, or keeping the Stars from controlling the play in the offensive zone.

The Chicago defensive corps as a whole did not play all that well and it certainly showed the most in the third period once Dallas got on the score sheet. 

Many Hawks fans keep wondering why John Scott continues to dress and only play a total of two minutes a game. Despite the fact that the Blackhawks dressed seven defensemen tonight, limiting a players' ice time to that extent is going to be taxing on some part of your roster.

It's certainly possible the forwards felt the lack of a twelfth member as several defensive miscues led to at least two of the Stars' goals, particularly latter two. 

As the trade deadline approaches and fewer and fewer defensemen are available, it appears more and more likely that GM Stan Bowman won't be making that problem-solving deal to send the Blackhawks on a long playoff run. 

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