Boy, that one felt good eh?
The Chicago Blackhawks started this one off strong, jumping out to an early 1-0 lead against the Dallas Stars on Sunday evening. The Stars responded to that score with a pair of goals in less than a minute, leading to collective groans from the entire Blackhawks' fanbase and more Joel Quenneville-related questions, considering that Michal Rozsival, Andrew Shaw, and Daniel Carcillo were all on the ice for one of them.
Nonetheless, the Hawks were able to bounce back in a huge way. They tied things before the end of the first, took the lead in the third, and then ran away with this one with an outstanding third period. That frame alone was easily one of the better stretches we've seen from this team throughout the year. We mentioned on this site a couple of days ago that the reorganized lines (at least the top six) were the most logical that they had been in quite some time. That was illustrated in the dominance of the top six. Given that this is a Three Stars feature, we'll have to cut that in half.
I'm in such a good mood tonight after watching the Hawks open up a can in the third period that we're going to acknowledge a few folks before getting to the Three Stars. Duncan Keith was great, opening the scoring an adding an assist. Brandon Saad had a goal, helping to fulfill those hopes that playing with Toews and Hossa would help kickstart him. Marian Hossa had a pair of assists and was tied for the team lead with seven shots. Kris Versteeg had a goal and a couple of assists, bouncing back from that brutal turnover against Detroit. Okay, now to the serious stuff.
3. Brad Richards
That's #BlackhawksLegendBradRichards to you. It was Richards' 1,000th game, so essentially anything noteworthy was going to get him into the trio of the acknowledged in this one. He had a pair of assists, one coming on the Kane goal that ended up being the game winner. It was a beauty of a feed to Kane, where he was able to put it where only a player like Kane can. His second helper came on the Versteeg goal, in which he found Steeger in the middle of the ice, allowing him to slap it home. A strong showing for him after the pregame ceremony honoring him for the milestone.
2. Patrick Kane
What can you say about Kane? He made up for a rough patch against Detroit, just as Versteeg did, with a standout night of his own. He recorded a goal, courtesy of that slick pass from Brad Richards, as well as a pair of assists. One came on a sweet feed to Duncan Keith that opened up the scoring in the first, as Kane slid it far post to Keith, who was completely alone. The other came on Seabrook's howitzer of a shot on the power play that evened things up in the first. He took home a plus-3 rating for the night and GW goal honors.
1. Jonathan Toews
What an outstanding night for the Captain. He finished with a pair of points in the third period. The first came on his goal, in which he grabbed a rebound and completed a beauty of a wraparound goal to give the Hawks a 4-2 edge. His second came on an assist to Brandon Saad, sailing it across the slot, in which he left Kari Lehtonen's pads laying all over the ice. Oh hey, he also led the team in Corsi%, in typical Toews fashion.
Hawks next meetup with the Calgary Flames to kick off the Circus Trip. Definitely won't be a cakewalk against a team that has played quite well this season (and bested these Blackhawks in their first meeting this season).
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.