The Dallas Stars lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 last night, bringing the team’s longest win streak this season to an end. The win earned the Blackhawks a full sweep of the season’s matchups, including a 3-2 victory in January and an 8-1 victory in March. The Stars had won five in a row until Monday night’s first trip to the United Center for the Stars this season.
The Stars weren’t without strengths though, fighting hard in the second and third periods to tie the game, even if only briefly.
Chicago opened scoring in the match, with captain and leading goal scorer Jonathan Toews tipping the puck past backup goalie Richard Bachman halfway through the first period. The Stars held off numerous attempts by the Hawks to break out in a scoring frenzy, holding Chicago within a goal. The battle to keep Chicago out of Dallas territory included killing off an Antoine Roussel penalty that closed out the first period.
Into the second period, Chicago extended the lead to 2-0 when Viktor Stalberg’s wrist shot sent the puck behind Bachman yet again. Jamie Benn was the night’s sole goal-scorer for Dallas, bringing the Stars within one to close out the second period, and tying the game with the first goal of the third period. The two goals put Benn, who currently leads the team in points, Ray Whitney and Loui Eriksson at the top of the team’s goal scorers, tied at 10 each for the season. Whitney earned assists on both of Benn’s goals.
Chicago took the lead back just a minute and a half later after an Andrew Shaw wrist shot sent the puck into the Stars net. Three minutes later, Niklas Hjalmarsson extended the Blackhawks’ lead to 4-2 with a powerful slap shot Bachman couldn’t nab. Bachman was pulled from the goal with more than two minutes remaining in the game, adding an extra attacker to the ice. Despite a valiant battle by the Stars to protect their open net, Marian Hossa soared a final puck into the back of the net.
Points are becoming more and more valuable as the short season winds down, and the Stars will need to fight for eighth with only six games remaining in the regular season. Up next for Dallas is the Vancouver Canucks, who head to Dallas and the American Airlines Center Thursday night.