DALLAS – As Tyler Seguin and the Dallas Stars celebrated his third-period goal, the Blackhawks once again faced a third-period deficit after starting the period with the lead. Considering recent events, there was a foreboding sense déjà vu.
“Yeah, a little bit, to be honest with you,” Niklas Hjalmarsson said of that feeling. “It’s been a pattern the last four or five games.”
It has been, as has been going way too quiet offensively in third periods. But in the final 10 minutes on Saturday, the Blackhawks reversed both bad trends.
Trevor van Riesmdyk scored the game winner with 4:03 remaining in regulation and Corey Crawford became the franchise’s third all-time winningest goaltender as the Blackhawks came back to beat the Stars 5-3 on Saturday. The Blackhawks remain in second place in the Central Division, four points behind the Minnesota Wild, who beat Vancouver late Saturday night and still have three games in hand.
Crawford stopped 31 of 34 shots for his 202nd career victory, passing Ed Belfour on the Blackhawks’ all-time list. Glenn Hall is second with 275 victories. Gustav Forsling scored his second goal of the season. Artem Anisimov and Marian Hossa each had two assists.
The Blackhawks completed the first 40 minutes up 2-1 but, after the Stars took a 3-2 edge courtesy of Jamie Benn and Seguin, it looked like it was going to be another bad ending for the Blackhawks. This time, however, they responded quickly. Just 35 seconds after Seguin’s go-ahead goal, Patrick Kane slipped a backhand past Kari Lehtonen to tie it 3-3. Van Riemsdyk, following up Anisimov’s driving shot on net, gave the Blackhawks the lead with less than five minutes remaining.
Jonathan Toews got the empty-net goal with .9 seconds on the clock.
While the third-period offense was necessary, so was some third-period defense. Ryan Hartman, who scored his 12th goal of the season earlier, came through with a Hjalmarsson-esque block on Benn’s shot late in the third. If not for that, the Blackhawks likely head to overtime.
“Oh, what a play. Diving poke. Good anticipation there,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I thought he had a really good game. Nice to see him score again. He’s around the net, he does some good things and when he does things on the defensive side it really enhances his game as well.”
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Hartman said he was just making up for a moment against the Coyotes.
“I missed a blocked shot in Arizona, so it felt nice to do the reverse there,” he said.
The Blackhawks have had some interesting third periods lately. Twice, they’ve blown leads, which has been rare for them the past two seasons. They didn’t like nearly doing it again on Saturday, but they’ll take the response.
“Just looking back at the season we’ve had a ton of one-goal leads and ended up winning those games in the third. Just throughout a full year, you can’t win them all. But when it happens two or three games in row it’s a pattern you have to try to change,” Hjalmarsson said. “I guess we were kind of lucky to get away with two points but it doesn’t matter how we get them. Just a matter of getting two points and that was a key game against a division opponent.”