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Blackhawks vs. Stars final score 2016: Artem Anisimov, Corey Crawford lead Chicago to 5-1 victory in Dallas

Artem Anisimov stepped up with four points for Chicago.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Strong performances from Corey Crawford and Artem Anisimov paid off big time for the Blackhawks tonight, as they steamrolled the Dallas Stars for a 5-1 win at American Airlines Center.

Crawford made 36 saves and Anisimov added four points (1 goal, 3 assists) to lead the Hawks to victory as they extended their Central Division lead on Dallas to five points.

The Blackhawks got off to a really fast start in this one. Andrew Shaw drew a penalty on Dallas defenseman John Klingberg just 29 seconds in, and it took just five seconds for Brent Seabrook to cash in and give Chicago a 1-0 lead. Later in the period, Trevor van Riemsdyk finished off a good series of play by banging one past Stars goalie Antti Niemi to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. Tyler Seguin would answer shortly after to cut the lead in half, but Marian Hossa put the Hawks in front by two yet again with a shorthanded tally following a strong rush by Jonathan Toews. Chicago took a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.

The Stars brought goalie Kari Lethonen in for Niemi to start the second period, but the netminder switch didn't bring them much luck. Despite putting 18 shots on goal in the middle frame, Dallas simply could not solve Crawford, who came up huge for the Hawks on several occasions. A little over midway through the period and with the Hawks shorthanded, Anisimov charged through the neutral zone to win a puck and get in on Lethonen, scoring Chicago's second shorthanded goal of the night. Anisimov also got an assist on a Patrick Kane goal later in the period, and Chicago went into the third period with a big lead, 5-1.

The third period didn't see as much action. The Stars pressed for a goal, but Crawford was equal to it all. The Blackhawks didn't do too much in terms of offense in the period, but their penalty kill and defensive play was phenomenal as they closed out the victory, 5-1.

Crawford ended the night with 36 saves on 37 shots, earning his fourth win in his last five starts. He now has 20 wins in his last 26 starts, as well. There's no denying that Crawford has been among the NHL's best goalies this season, and his strong performances over the past few months have been absolutely huge for the Hawks.

The win in Dallas tonight was a big one for the Hawks, as they extended their Central Division lead, and in a very convincing way. They came out fast and dominated this game from start to finish, which is especially encouraging considering how their last matchup with Dallas went. The Hawks are playing some of their best hockey of the season right now, and they're getting the results they deserve as well.

The Blackhawks next game is Tuesday night, when they will return home to host the San Jose Sharks. Puck drop for that one is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT.

Adam Hess is a staff writer at Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter at @FeathersInDaHat.