The Blackhawks and NBCSN talked about how tonight’s game after the circus trip would be a trap game and after 20 minutes it sure looked like the Hawks had fallen right into the trap. The Stars didn’t get the lead by pelting tons of shots on Corey Crawford, but by some precise moments that got the puck in. The Blackhawks didn’t come out playing soft or without lots of shots on net, but they were on the wrong side of the scoreboard. After a Hawks extended rush Valeri Nichuskin put one five hole on Crawford for the early lead and then on the powerplay late in the period Alex Chiasson scored to end the period 2-0 Dallas even though the Hawks out shot the Stars 16-5. The only highlight of the period for the Hawks was the Andrew Shaw fight which was very spirited.
The second period started the same way as the first period with the Stars Erik Cole scoring to extend the lead 3-0 and taking all the air out of the United Center. The Stars seemed to be on their way until Antoine Roussel got an elbow high on Jonathan Toews. On the powerplay Patrick Sharp knocked one in for his 200th career goal with the Blackhawks. The Hawks were buzzing after that goal and after being on the bench for an extended period of the 2nd period, Nick Leddy scored his 3rd goal of the season to cut the lead to 3-2. That lead didn’t stand for long as only 65 seconds later Johnny Oduya snuck one past Kari Lehtonen to get the game back to all square late in the second period. The Hawks have all the momentum behind them and after two periods are out shooting the Stars 34-13 through 2 periods.
The Hawks owned the third period except for one play when Niklas Hjalmarsson slashed Roussel on a breakaway which led to a penalty shot which he buried to give the Stars a 4-3 lead. Roussel has become enemy #1 for the Hawks and the Blackhawks fan base after taunting the UC crowd after the penalty shot. The rest of the third period was the Hawks putting puck after puck on net without any success. The biggest chance for the Hawks was a 5 on 3 that the Hawks had for 1:14 but they came up empty. Hats off to Lehtonen for stopping the barrage of shots the Hawks put on him Tuesday night.
Plenty will say it was a trap game, but a team doesn’t play poorly with a 50-18 shot differential. The Hawks played hard and with that effort will win more that they lose, it’s just that tonight is one of those nights.
The Hawks are 20-5-4 with the best record in the NHL. The Bears have everyone on edge but there is no reason to panic with this team!
The Hawks are back at it Thursday night against the Minnesota Wild!