Well, if there’s been a troubling trend this season, it’s been how the Blackhawks have fared against the Dallas Stars.
It hasn’t gone well at all. It didn’t go well on Tuesday, either, when the Blackhawks got pummeled, 6-2, by the Stars. They remain in third place in the Central Division with 91 points, but the Nashville Predators, who have been on a hot streak lately, are just four points behind them.
So, if you’re still interested in reading, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ loss to the Stars on Tuesday.
1. Pouring it on again. The Stars have gotten off to 4-0 leads in all four of their victories against the Blackhawks this season, including Tuesday’s game. In this one, the Stars scored two goals within 25 seconds, and they didn’t look back after that. Give credit to the Stars: Regardless of injuries, and they’ve had a few of them lately, they’re still playing at a tremendous level. As coach Joel Quenneville said, the Blackhawks were “playing catch-up hockey against a team that loves to attack.”
2. Another goalie change, sans desired effect. Scott Darling was pulled in favor of Michael Leighton after the Stars scored four goals in the first period. But the Blackhawks, outside of a late second-period goal from Andrew Shaw, did not get the desired effect.
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3. Defensive lapses. A turnover behind the net turned into the Stars’ first goal — a shot from behind the net that went off Darling’s stick and in. Another mishandle led to a pass from behind the net that became a goal (Vernon Fiddler’s) just 25 seconds later.
4. Well, the fourth-line guys are scoring. Even though they moved around with line changes during Tuesday’s game, we’ll call Shaw and Richard Panik fourth-liners for consistency’s sake. Those two scored the Blackhawks’ goals in their 3-2 shootout loss to Minnesota on Sunday, and they scored the team’s goals against Dallas. That’s good for them but bad for the rest of the lineup, which has been absent on the score sheet.
5. The (Central) plot continues to thicken. Quenneville has talked often about the Blackhawks squandering their opportunity to get back atop the Central Division. Now they’re dangerously close to dropping into a wild-card spot. The Blackhawks’ next four opponents are teams currently out of the playoffs. Do they finally find the necessary spark on this upcoming road trip?