It wasn’t without some late drama, but the Blackhawks secured two vital points in the standings with a 4-2 win over the Stars on Tuesday night at the United Center.
With the win, the Blackhawks now have 41 points in 40 games and remain two points behind Nashville for fourth place — and the final playoff spot — in the Central Division. The Predators now have 43 points in 40 games after rallying to beat Detroit on Tuesday.
Chicago thought it had an early 1-0 lead when Kirby Dach sprung Patrick Kane for a breakaway goal. A challenge from Dallas led to the goal being overturned based on Dach being ruled offsides. Since that didn’t work, later in the first period Kane flipped the script by sending Dach off on a breakaway and the youngster made a slick move in minimal space for a nifty goal that even a coaches’ challenge couldn’t nullify:
That lead became 2-0 in the second period after a Blackhawks’ odd-man rush. Vinnie Hinostroza — in his first game back with the team that drafted him — made a neat pass through Jamie Oleksiak to set Dominik Kubalik up, and the NHL sophomore made no mistake:
In the final minute of the second period, Alex DeBrincat did something that’s become a hallmark of his game this season: a stick lift and swipe of the puck while on the forecheck that led to a scoring chance. He made no mistake with a missile into the net for a 3-0 Blackhawks lead heading into the second intermission:
In the third period, the 2021 Blackhawks did a couple things that the 2021 Blackhawks have been known to do. First, they earned a power play but allowed a breakaway, with Andrew Cogliano scoring to make it a 3-1 Chicago lead. Later in the period, Radek Faksa scored off a ricochet from behind the Blackhawks net to raise heart rates across the Chicagoland area.
But the Blackhawks held on, with Kane adding an empty-net goal in the closing seconds for the final tally of the evening.
- Do yourself a favor and go watch that Dach goal again. The ability to corral the pass, move the puck to his forehand and roof it (all while fighting a puck that wouldn’t settle down) is indicative of the high skill level Dach possesses. Looking forward to more like displays of those skills.
- Speaking of scoring plays involving Dach, it does seem like the letter of the law was correctly applied in ruling that first Kane goal offsides because Dach put himself offsides when he released the puck for a pass to Kane. That seems like a rule that can be revisited, however, because ruling that play offsides seems to go against the spirit of the offsides rule.
- The Alex DeBrincat Redemption Tour™ continues and anyone who wrote him off while he was being attacked the by the shot percentage monsters last season should be tarred and feathered in a public square.
- A solid debut for Hinostroza, who already has more points with Chicago this season than he had in nine games with Florida. The key will be repeated solid performances, as Hinostroza wasn’t noticeable enough with the Panthers, which is why he has a healthy scratch for about 75 percent of Florida’s games.
- Speaking of Hinostroza, his line with Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev ended up with the best possession numbers of the night: 8-4 advantage in shot attempts, 5-3 in shots on goal, 1-0 in goals. That trio should get another look on Thursday night.
- By the way: know what started that 2-on-1 for Kubalik and Hinostroza? Adam Boqvist having a stick in a passing lane, deflecting the puck out to center ice, where his two teammates were waiting. Boqvist is making plays in the defensive zone as well and it’s a joy to watch.
- Nikita Zadorov can stop taking useless penalties any game now.
- Not ideal to allow a pair of goals in the third period, but the Blackhawks overall game in the final 20 minutes wasn’t bad. Dallas was credited with only eight shots in the third period, suggesting the Blackhawks were able to limit the Stars’ offense in that final frame. Still room for improvement, of course. But more enjoyable to do after a win than a loss.
- The Blackhawks earned two points and kept the Stars from gaining any, which is vital for the playoff chase. More regulation results like this, please.
- Alex DeBrincat (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Kirby Dach (CHI) — 1 goal
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 empty-net goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks will host the Stars again on Thursday night at the United Center for another 7 p.m. start.