DALLAS – Health-wise, the Blackhawks and Dallas Stars seem to be going in different directions. The Stars have lost a few recently while the Blackhawks just got Marian Hossa back.
But on Friday, the Stars looked nothing like a hurting squad.
Teuvo Teravainen scored his 11th goal of the season but Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin each scored as the Stars beat the Blackhawks 5-2 at American Airlines Center. With their loss and St. Louis’ victory over the Anaheim Ducks, the Blackhawks fall to third in the Central Division with 88 points. The Stars move into first with 90 points.
The Blackhawks were hoping to be better in a few areas, especially with their penalty kill. But once again the kill betrayed them, allowing two of the Stars’ five goals (Jason Spezza and Benn).
“Our special teams, that was probably as bad a night as we could have,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You don’t even get a chance to get your feet under you to see how it’s going to look. We gave them that one on a platter and the next one was on a platter. But they have some great options; you don’t clear it, tough things happen.”
[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans]
Corey Crawford was pulled midway through the second period after allowing four goals on 20 shots. Seguin’s goal was his 33rd of the season; the same goes for Benn. The Stars, who were missing former Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp, as well as defensemen Jason Demers, Jordie Benn and John Klingberg to injury, were nevertheless the better team.
Thus ended a two-game road trip on which the Blackhawks got just one point.
“It’s almost like that week [when] we were in Detroit then Boston, where I think we played well in the first game on the road. Obviously we didn’t get the result we wanted to in St. Louis, and we kind of had a drop-off the second game,” Jonathan Toews said. “Tonight was the same way and we ran into a team that was sitting here and ready for us and we didn’t have the speed and the work ethic in the battles in the corners that we needed. So eventually we ended up taking penalties and ended up hurting ourselves. We’ve got to be better than that.”
Tomas Fleischmann added a goal, his second since joining the Blackhawks, with 58.3 seconds remaining in regulation. The Blackhawks knew they had to be strong against a hungry, if injured, Stars team. They didn’t get the desired result. They’re obviously not in a serious predicament – just two points separate the first-place Stars from the third-place Blackhawks. But they know they have to get more of an effort than they did on Friday.
“Nobody’s panicking here,” Hossa said. “We have a great team here and we’re in a good spot. We just have to be better than we were tonight.”