The Dallas Stars came into Chicago tonight two points out of a playoff position having a game in hand with 8th place Detroit. The Blackhawks continued their 5 game winning streak as they decisively defeated the Stars 5-2.
The Blackhawks outplayed the Stars much of the game, although the score did not always reflect a lopsided contest. Chicago went up 2-0 with goals by Jonathan Toews and Viktor Stalberg. Despite a strong penalty kill, the Stars struggled to keep up with the Blackhawks. Jamie Benn caught a break on a 3 on 1 putting the Stars on the board in the second period. Early in the third, Benn struck again and tied the game. Despite some renewed momentum, Chicago quickly responded with two goals by Andrew Shaw and then Niklas Hjalmarsson on a broken back-check. Marian Hossa finished the Stars off with an empty netter.
While Dallas was tied with Chicago late in the game, they were lucky to be in it. Chicago out-skills many teams; on paper, the Stars do not match up to them. With the Blackhawks holding the top spot in the Western Conference, they are not in the same position as many of the teams the Stars will face in the next week or so.
It was not a 4 point game. If Dallas HAD to lose a game down the stretch, this would be the one. Losses like this will not be acceptable against Columbus, St. Louis, and Detroit if the Stars expect to continue a sustained playoff run. Look for an intense matchup as Derek Roy returns to Dallas with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday. Get out there and make some noise at the AAC!