Blackhawks rally past Stars; remain undefeated
Marian Hossa scored his fifth goal of the season in the form of an overtime game-winner as the Chicago Blackhawks rallied from two goals down to defeat the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Thursday night. Hossa’s goal came on Chicago’s seventh power play of the night off a beautiful behind-the-back backhand feed from Patrick Kane, pushing the team’s record to a league-best 4-0-0.
For a while it looked as though Chicago might not be able to solve Dallas net-minder Kari Lehtonen, as the Finnish-born former Thrasher frustrated one attempt after another from the Blackhawks as they outshot the Stars 12-6 in the first period to no avail.
Compounding matters was Dallas forward Loui Eriksson speeding around Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook at the Stars blue line, corralling a bouncing puck, and taking it the distance to deposit a shorthanded goal through the wickets of Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford with only a single tick left in the opening frame.
Early in the second period Dallas was given the opportunity to extend its lead as Ryan Garbutt got behind Seabrook only to be hauled down and awarded a penalty shot. However, Crawford was more than up to the challenge this time, rebuffing the attempt by the Stars center with a left pad save.
Resident old-timer Ray Whitney managed to succeed in stretching the Dallas lead to two when he forced a turnover by Michal Rozsival deep in the Hawks defensive zone and roofed the puck over a down-and-out Crawford from the top of the blue paint.
As Lehtonen continued to turn away chance after chance through the second period, any hope for a Chicago victory seemed to be lost.
Then, on Chicago’s fourth power play of the game, lady luck smiled on the 2010 Stanley Cup Champions. Patrick Kane sent a pass rink-wide to Patrick Sharp low in the offensive zone, and Sharp’s subsequent pass to a backdoor-lurking Viktor Stalberg ricocheted off Dallas defenseman Trevor Daley’s stick and into the cage with just over four minutes to play in the second.
Dallas nearly re-established their two goal lead as the seconds ticked down towards all zeroes in the second, but Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith used his exceptional reach to sweep a puck that trickled through Crawford’s five-hole off the goal line and harmlessly into the corner while the horn granted a reprieve.
Chicago would tie the game late in the third period on another power play goal, as Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews wristed an absolute laser from the right faceoff circle over Lehtonen’s blocker and into the twine.
The Blackhawks will look to win their fifth straight in Columbus on Saturday before returning home to face their division rival Detroit Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.
* * *
Final Score: Blackhawks 3, Stars 2
Chicago goals: Sharp (PPG), Toews (PPG), Hossa (PPG, GWG)
Dallas goals: Eriksson (SHG), Whitney
3) Jonathan Toews – CHI
2) Kari Lehtonen – DAL
1) Marian Hossa – CHI
Winning goalie: Corey Crawford, 2 GA / 0.913 SV%
Losing goalie: Kari Lehtonen, 3 GA / 0.927 SV%
Next game: Saturday 1/26 at Columbus Blue Jackets, Nationwide Arena, Columbus
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