Blackhawks respond late, come back to outlast Stars

Blackhawks respond late, come back to outlast Stars

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.”

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

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.”

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

NHL Draft Profile: F Brady Tkachuk

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Brady Tkachuk

Position: Forward
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 196 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"I know Tkachuk isn't a center, but Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) is another player who comes to mind with his combination of size, strength, skill and nastiness. Tkachuk has impressive hand skills and his upside has only begun because I think there's lots of maturity and growth to come. I've seen his speed and skating improve each of the past three years and I think he'll still get stronger and his balance will get better. His man strength will come and it'll be like, 'Oh boy, look out.'"

NHL player comparable: Matthew Tkachuk/Wayne Simmonds

Fit for Blackhawks:

If you're looking for a player that checks all the boxes in this year's draft, it's Tkachuk. And man could the Blackhawks use a player like him.

He's got offensive skill, willingly goes to the greasy areas, can provide net-front presence while playing a top-six role, and perhaps the most important part for the Blackhawks: he's very close to NHL ready. The Blackhawks will be patient with whoever they draft, but there's also some urgency to turn things around in 2018-19.

If they can draft a player like Tkachuk who can potentially jump into the lineup as early as this upcoming season, that would be ideal. Because he's the type of player that can make an impact, not just get by.

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

NHL Draft Profile: D Quinn Hughes

From June 17-21, Charlie Roumeliotis will profile two prospects per day — 10 total (five forwards, five defensemen) — leading up to the NHL Draft.​

Quinn Hughes

Position: Defenseman
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 170 pounds
Shoots: Left

Scouting report:

"He's got the puck skills, is a good skater, and is a guy with some high-end offensive talent. He wants to get right in there and play where it's hard and where you get rewarded. When he gets that puck on his stick, he wants to bury it."

NHL player comparable: Torey Krug/Kris Letang

Fit for Blackhawks:

It's no secret the Blackhawks are looking to restock their pipeline with some high-end defensemen. Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell are on the way. But the former isn't a lock to be a full-time NHLer this season and the latter will continue playing in college for the 2018-19 season.

Hughes, who shined at Michigan and the IIHF World Championship with Team USA, would have the best chance of the three to crack the Blackhawks lineup first. The problem is, he likely won't be available at No. 8, so if Hughes is the guy they're locked in on, they'd need to trade up to grab him. 

If they did that, Hughes would give the Blackhawks a third blue line prospect they can get excited about. He's a left-handed shot, which evens out the balance in the system, and he would become a prime candidate to eventually replace Duncan Keith as the team's No. 1 defenseman.