Blackhawks 5, Stars 4
Now that was a pretty crazy 3rd period.
Notice I didn't say crazy game, because the first 2 periods were relatively ordinary, and the Blackhawks were in control with a 3-1 lead with 20 minutes to go.
However, in the 3rd period, the Hawks seemed to pretty much have a collective team breakdown, and all of a sudden Dallas seemed to be swarming all over the Chicago zone. However, even though the Stars eventually came back from the 3-1 deficit to grab a 4-3 lead, the Blackhawks would tie it up with about 7 minutes to go, and then get the go-ahead goal with 20 seconds left in the 3rd.
And who can we thank for this late-game magic? Jason Williams. He picked up both goals late in the 3rd to give the Hawks a thrilling, come-from-behind 5-4 victory in Dallas over those pesky Stars.
It really felt like the 'Hawks outplayed Dallas for the first 2 periods. In the 1st, they out-shot Dallas 11-9, and that is with the Stars picking up a couple of power plays while the 'Hawks had none. However, just 4 minutes in, Mike Ribeiro gave the Stars a 1-0 lead when he picked up a long shot off the boards behind the net and quickly banked it in off Nikolai Khabibulin's pad from a severe angle.
The Hawks picked up their first goal when that awesome RTK (Ruutu-Toews-Kane) line was on the ice and moving the puck well. Pat Kane made a nice play to knock it down low to Tuomo Ruutu, and then Ruutu made a very nice feed to Jonathan Toews, who put a point-blank shot past Marty Turco, tying the game at 1. Toews now has a 10 game point scoring streak to start his career.
In the 2nd period, someone actually not named Kane, Toews or Ruutu contributed offensively for the Hawks, quite the shocker indeed. James Wisniewski scored on a nice shot from the blue line, on the power play, giving the Hawks a 2-1 lead.
Just 2 minutes later, 18 year old Pat Kane picked up his 5th goal of the young season, when he found a rebound out in front of Turco and made a nice turn-around shot that found it's way into the back of the net, giving the 'Hawks a 3-1 lead, which they held into the 2nd intermission.
That's when the chaos began.
Just 40 seconds into the 3rd, Philippe Boucher tallied one for the Stars, cutting the lead down to a one goal advantage at 3-2.
Just about 5 minutes later, the Hawks went on the power play with a chance to open up their lead again, but it actually benefited Dallas, because Niklas Hagman tipped in a shot on a 2-on-2 shorthanded rush to tie the game up at 3, swinging all the momentum over to the Dallas bench.
The Hawks had trouble staying out of the penalty box in this one, and it came back to bite them when Sergei Zubov scored on a 5-on-3 power play for Dallas with about 10 minutes remaining in the 3rd, giving the Stars a 4-3 lead.
But then...the man, the myth, the legend Jason Williams decided to win this one single-handedly. With just over 7 minutes left in the game, he took a cross-ice pass from Robert Lang in the Stars' zone and sent a one-time snap shot into the net past Stars goalie Mike Smith (who replaced Turco in the 2nd), tying it all up at 4-4.
The last 5-6 minutes were played at a back-and-forth style, with both teams playing a wide open and, mostly, sloppy game, and both getting some very good scoring chances that they couldn't get in the net.
With 20 seconds to go, Williams would come up with the clutch tally. I'm not sure what Dallas was doing on defense, but he had plenty of room to work with when he stepped in over the blue-line, and he snapped a wrister past the glove side of Smith, giving the Hawks a 5-4 lead and ultimately the win.
I think this team showed a lot of heart last night, being able to come back from a late deficit after blowing a 3-1 lead in about 10 minutes of play. It would be great, however, for this team to play agressive and smarter with a lead. They actually had a good start to a game for once, but the 3rd was sloppy and Dallas took advantage.
SCH Hawks Player Of The Game: For the second straight game, I just have to give it to Jason Williams. He came up with two huge late goals that gave the Hawks a confidence-boosting win. Nicely done, Jason.