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Let’s Play the Blame Game: Stars 5, Blackhawks 1

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The Blackhawks’ special teams were rough on Thursday as Chicago was outscored 4-0 in the final 40.

Dallas Stars v Chicago Blackhawks
Mattias Janmark of the Chicago Blackhawks skates with the puck while being defended by Esa Lindell of the Dallas Stars
Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images

The Blackhawks lost to the Stars 5-1 on Thursday at the United Center, giving Chicago its second loss to Dallas this season.

The Stars started the scoring on the power play during the first period. After Kevin Lankinen made five saves against the Dallas man advantage, Roope Hintz put away the sixth.

The Blackhawks answered back later in the first period as Vinnie Hinostroza and Dominik Kubalik combined for their second goal in two games as linemates:

It was also Kubalik’s third goal in the last four games.

With the game at 4-on-4 early in the second period, Nikita Zadorov gave up the puck in his own end and that led to a goal from Jason Robertson, putting Dallas back in front.

On the next Dallas power play (with Ryan Carpenter in the box for sending the puck over the glass), Miro Heiskanen added another goal for the Stars, giving them a 3-1 lead.

Duncan Keith’s stumbling turnover in the offensive zone led to a Stars’ breakaway less than two minutes after Heiskanen’s goal. Blake Comeau scored on that breakaway, making the score 4-1.

Comeau scored another on an odd-man rush just 50 seconds into the third period. That was the last goal, as the Blackhawks fell 5-1.

Notes

  • The Blackhawks — besides a bad penalty kill — got off to a hot start in this game, outshooting the Stars 15-6 at 5-on-5 in the first period. The Blackhawks controlled quality as well, with 1.04 expected goals for to 0.65 against. Their ability to control the flow of the game at full strength helped lead to the Kubalik goal.
  • The period that followed, however, was disappointing. The Blackhawks mustered just five shots and 0.43 expected goals at 5-on-5, although the defense remained relatively consistent (going from 0.65 expected goals against in the first to 0.59 in the second). The Blackhawks were unable to reverse the momentum the Stars picked up through special teams play.
  • The Blackhawks returned to form in the third period — 15 shots to seven against, 0.99 expected goals to 0.37 against at 5-on-5 — but were unable to capitalize on any chances. Kubalik’s goal remained the only tally Chicago scored in the game.
  • The Blackhawks special teams were bad throughout. The power play generated just two shots and 0.16 expected goals in 4:28 of ice time. The penalty kill gave up two goals, 1.06 expected goals and seven shots in just 2:25 of ice time. When both special teams are bad for the Blackhawks, even with how good the team was at 5-on-5 in both the first and third periods, the results are going to be bad.
  • Hintz led the Stars in scoring against the Blackhawks this season entering the game. Robertson was second. They scored the first two goals for the Stars. Hintz picked up four points in this game. Robertson scored the game-winning goal. They are the Stars’ scoring leaders against Chicago for a reason, and the Blackhawks needed to slow them down.
  • Philipp Kurashev, Kubalik and Hinostroza were great at 5-on-5 for the second straight game. They generated 0.65 expected goals (a 68.47 percent share) and 11 shots (a 68.75 percent share) in 8:06, the second-highest time on ice among Blackhawks forward lines. They scored the team’s only goal and generated a team-high three high-danger chances.
  • The Blackhawks are four points back of the Predators for the fourth spot in the Central division. Each team has 15 remaining games on the schedule (three against each other). Nashville beat the Red Wings 7-1 earlier on Thursday.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Roope Hintz (DAL) — 1 goal, 3 assists
  2. Blake Comeau (DAL) — 2 goals, 1.29 expected goals
  3. Anton Khudobin (DAL) — 38 saves, 3.04 expected goals against

What’s next

The Blackhawks hit the road again to face the Blue Jackets on Saturday at 6 p.m.