Remember when the Blackhawks said they made a statement in their victory over the Dallas Stars last week? Well, the Stars made one right back on Thursday.
Yes, it was a rather forgettable night for the Blackhawks, who looked lackluster at best in their 4-2 loss to the Stars. Ah, why go through a long setup in this one? Let’s just rip the Band-Aid off and get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Stars.
1. Bad start against a dangerous team. Coach Joel Quenneville labels a few NHL teams dangerous. This one actually is. The Stars were angry and frustrated after their loss to the Blackhawks and had something to prove in this one. They were hot from the start, caught the Blackhawks on their heels and the Blackhawks didn’t react through the first 40 minutes. Quenneville used the word “brutal” twice to describe the Blackhawks’ start. Hard to argue.
2. The Blackhawks miss Artemi Panarin. No, his absence (due to illness) is not the reason they lost. Let’s remember the Blackhawks suffered two ugly shutouts entering the All-Star break, and Panarin was perfectly healthy and in those lineups. But there’s no doubt it disrupted the chemistry the Blackhawks, and that second line, have had this season. We’re guessing the Blackhawks staff has expedited chicken soup to his house.
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3. The Stars power play capitalizes. Dallas has a decent advantage on the road (11th in the league), but it looked a lot better than that on Thursday night. The Stars scored on both of their first-period power plays; it took them all of four seconds to score on the second one, the third of Patrick Eaves’ goals on the night. The Blackhawks had two short-handed goals against the Stars last week. Their penalty kill was futile in this one.
4. Goalie change changes energy — eventually. Scott Darling took over for Corey Crawford after Crawford allowed the Stars’ four goals on 18 first-period shots. But if the move was made to stoke the Blackhawks’ collective fire, it didn’t work in the second period. It took the Blackhawks until the third period to wake up, and by then it was too little too late.
5. Paying homage to Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya. The Blackhawks rolled video montages to both former Blackhawks, a longer one for Sharp, who spent 10 seasons and won three Stanley Cups here. Sharp looked emotional at the end of his, and both players got great ovations from the Blackhawks fans. It brought emotions from the Blackhawks, too. “It brings back good memories, and obviously you miss those friends and those teammates,” Jonathan Toews said. “They're doing well. They're obviously playing well. They have a good team and a good city around them. We’d love to have those guys still in this room, so in a way it's kind of tough to see.”