clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Blackhawks vs. Stars final score: Defensive woes cost Chicago in 6-3 loss to Dallas

The Blackhawks suffered their first loss of the year to the division rival Stars, as defensive miscues cost them in a 6-3 loss.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to look at the Chicago Blackhawks goal differential for the entire year, you'd probably walk away pretty impressed. After all, this was a team that came into Sunday's affair with the Dallas Stars featuring the league's best goal differential and were tops in the league in goals against per game. Yet, for virtually the entirety of the month of January, the defensive play has taken a turn for the worse.

That was completely and totally evident in the Hawks' 6-3 loss to the suddenly upstart Stars on Sunday. The last time these two teams met, the Blackhawks were able to overcome the Stars in coming back from numerous one-goal deficits. In this one, the Blackhawks found themselves down, once again, but were unable to battle back, as mistakes in their own end, and their growing inability to overcompensate for the low quality on their bottom pair (Michal Rozsival), cost them in this one.

Of course, a certain amount of credit should be given to the Stars. They're a high end offensive team, just like they were expected to be coming into the season. Cody Eakin's third period goal on the power play featured a series of absurdly beautiful passes from Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. At the same time, it's much easier to pass when the defense is as stationary as possible.

The Blackhawks found themselves down 2-0 halfway through the opening frame, courtesy of Tyler Seguin and a shorthanded goal by Eakin. The Blackhawks were able to battle back and tie it up, on goals from Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad, but Dallas notched a goal in the final minute of the first period to go back ahead by a 3-2 count. A beauty of a goal by Brandon Saad evened things up, as the Blackhawks played a far better period in the second than they did in the first.

It all turned out to be futile, as the Stars rattled off three in the third period, one coming off the stick of Eakin, who notched the go-ahead goal on his second of the game. Shawn Horcoff closed the book on this one with an empty net goal with a minute left. Those were sandwiched by an Erik Cole goal at 10:59 of the period. At the other end, Kari Lehtonen did just enough to win and earn his first victory of the year against this Blackhawks squad.

Overall, the Blackhawks outshot the Stars 41-34. They led in the Corsi department by a 67-44 count. The issue is the glaring defensive inefficiencies that are not revealed by looking at the total body of work. Johnny Oduya and Michal Rozsival both represent tremendous issues for this team right now. Both were on the ice for the Erik Cole goal, which was a result of an Oduya pinch and Rozsival being the only man back. It's becoming more and more clear that the Hawks are going to have to look for a defenseman at the deadline, as Trevor van Riemdsyk may not be able to fix the woes with his return alone.

The Blackhawks next host the lowly (understatement) Arizona Coyotes and the league's worst goaltender in Mike Smith on Tuesday. If a bounceback isn't in the cards, then it may be a matter of this team mailing it in, being January at all. Let's talk about some positive things. Onto the stars...

Three Stars of the Night

3. Brent Seabrook

In terms of Corsi and the shot chart, it wasn't the greatest of nights out there for Seabrook. Nonetheless, he did contribute two assists to the effort, as well as four blocked shots in almost 25 minutes of ice time. I have this growing, and yet somehow not quite irrational (given the man behind the bench), fear that Seabrook and Duncan Keith will eventually see in the upwards of 40 minutes before long.

2. Patrick Kane

Kane and his linemates didn't have the greatest night, in terms of possession numbers, but he did find himself on the positive side of the Corsi threshold nonetheless. His goal brought the Blackhawks back to within one after they surrendered a pair of early goals and ran his total up to 21 on the year.

1. Brandon Saad

Another outstanding performance for Saad tonight, as he's quietly worked his season goal output to 15 on the year. He had another two on the evening here, one coming on the power play to make things 2-2 in the first, and another coming on a gorgeous spinning goal in the second period, also evening things up. He finished with a CF% of 66 on the night as well, as he's shaking off that quiet start to the year and becoming a consistent offensive threat night in and night out.

Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.