The Chicago Blackhawks lost their seventh game in a row after the Dallas Stars defeated them 6-4 Sunday night at United Center.
The Stars opened the scoring 4:14 into what would be a busy first period. While on power play, Jamie Benn shoveled a rebound in from Miro Heiskanen. The Blackhawks’ inability to handle the puck consistently is still a major issue.
The Blackhawks equalized about four minutes later. Philipp Kurashev’s pass attempt to Jonathan Toews was blocked by a sliding Esa Lindell directly into the Dallas net.
The Blackhawks went up to 2-1 at 11:24 after another pass from Lindell in his own net. This time it was Toews’ center-right pass that went off the stick on Lindell and deflected into goal. Strange that the best Blackhawks goal scorer so far was a Stars defender, but the Blackhawks will take it.
The Stars restored the match to 2-2 just two minutes later on yet another rejected powerplay goal, this time thanks to Joe Pavelski who went ahead and tipped a Tyler Seguin one-hour in behind Kevin Lankinen.
Roope Hintz gave the Stars a 3-2 lead just 1:47 inside the second period. Pavelski rejected Kirby Dach’s pass attempt and then touch-passed it back to Hintz in the castle, as once it in the net.
The Blackhawks made it once again a draw after Boris Katchouk scored his first goal as the Blackhawk. After some decent zone time, Erik Gustafsson put Katchouk’s one-timer to the goal to make it 3-3 at 9:11 in the center frame.
But the lead, like many others in this match, was short-lived as the Stars scored their fourth just two minutes later. A Hintz shot went past the net and then bounced directly to Jason Robertson, who knocked the puck in from Lankinen’s back to 4-3 Stars.
Robertson scored his second with 5:32 left in the period to give the Stars a 5-3 lead. The stars went effortlessly into the offensive zone, making two passes, after which Robertson’s wrist shot went far through the traffic to hit Lankinen.
After four goals per. period in the first and second was the third calmer compared to only two goals scored – both in the last five minutes.
First, Tyler Seguin beat Colin Delia – who replaced Lankinen at the start of the third – with a wraparound goal that gave the Stars a 6-3 lead with 4:32 left in the rules.
Second, Kirby Dach got the Blackhawks back within two with 2:57 left. Sam Lafferty entered the zone with great speed, but could not get a shot off, so he cycled back before passing to Dach, who took the same road as Lafferty, but was rewarded.
Unfortunately, it was as close to a comeback as the Blackhawks would come, falling 6-4 to the Stars.
- This was one of those optional defense games that tends to be fun to watch – at least for the first 40 minutes. The Blackhawks played pretty well in the first period, owning a share of 66.67 percent of the shot attempts and 59.74 percent of the expected goals at 5-on-5 and also generated more on their powerplay than Dallas. It’s a shame the assassination was a mess.
- After the first, however, the Blackhawks became a bit more sloppy. They still played pretty evenly with the Stars – it was a kind of back and forth kind of game – and it was not as messy as some of the recent games for the Blackhawks, but they certainly made enough mistakes for the Stars to be able to take advantage of the right easily.
- Lankinen, who did not have a good game, obviously did not help. Lankinen has been decent recently: he has only allowed eight goals on 108 shots and had an amazing performance of 0.935 save percentage against the Seattle Kraken, but got zero goal support from the team up front. The Blackhawks scored tonight, but Lankinen allowed five goals on 20 shots in the first two periods. Now some of those goals were on deflections that even Vezina-quality goalkeepers would have trouble rescuing, but others were very stop-gap and his rebound control remains an issue.
- However, that is not all at Lankinen, as the defenders made some interesting choices tonight. What was wrong with the very flawed puck recovery attempt from Jake McCabe on the first Robertson goal? Why were they Haan and Stillman as statues every time Stars had the puck? Has everyone except Seth Jones forgotten how to play on PK ?? Maybe if the goalkeepers and the team in front could get on the same side, the Blackhawks could win a game.
- One thing I did not understand is why King did not use the Katchouk, R. Johnson and Sam Entwistle line as the control line tonight. Sure, they had the fewest offensive zone starters, but they faced the lowest competitive quality at Stars. These three played well, but there is no point in having them in the ranks if they do not work in a defensive capacity. And there is honestly no excuse for that deployment when the Blackhawks have the last change.
- Instead, do you know which Blackhawks strikers faced the Stars’ top line the most? Reichel and Kane. Kane will always see top quality competition (QoC) – especially when he plays so much – but pushing Reichel so far into the deep end so fast is not ideal.
- The Erie Otters row of DeBrincat, Strome and Raddysh looked decent and led the team in all shot and puck possession categories through the first 40 minutes. The main problem with this trio is that Strome and Raddysh completely indulge in DeBrincat when it comes to shooting. DeBrincat had eight scoring chances, but it would be better to spread the shot a little more.
- The reunion of Toews and Kane went pretty overwhelmingly, unfortunately. Their line with Kurashev had the lowest expected goal percentage on the team (30.72 percent), and outside of the first period, they just weren’t particularly well connected. Maybe they should just learn their chemistry again – which is a point Kane himself made after the match.
Kane in line with Toews & Kurashev:
“I have not played with those guys for a long time. Sometimes it takes a while to build up that chemistry. You are not really sure where everyone should be … We were a little too tight for each other in the offensive zone.”
– Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST)
- Lafferty and Dach were in my opinion two of the best Blackhawks players in this game. It would have been nice if Lafferty could have scored in the rush before Dachs goal, but he did many little things right in this match which is not shown on the scorecard. And this was one of Dachs best matches of the season on the offensive side. However, it was less on the defensive side of things, given the turnover on the Hintz goal.
- Overall, this was not the worst the Blackhawks have played recently, but it was actually not good hockey either. While it’s nice to see the Blackhawks have a little more fighting in them, it was still not a fully cohesive game from them. And that’s why they’re only two games left to match the nine-game losing streak that started the season. Yikes, honestly.
- Roope Hintz (DAL) – 1 goal, 2 assists
- Jason Robertson (DAL) – 2 goals
- Joe Pavelski (DAL) – 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks host the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday at the United Center for a start at. 19:30.