There was a point in hockey history not too long ago where Stars fan cringed at the thought of playing the beastly Blackhawks. But the boys in green are regaining fans’ confidence more and more with every sweep this season. Tonight the Dallas Stars (19-14-3) won their 3rd consecutive meeting against the Chicago Blackhawks (17-12-5) this season with an impressive final score of 4-0, SOG 24-22 Chicago – giving Ben Bishop a shutout and making Coach Hitchcock the third coach in history to have 800 NHL career wins.
Tonight’s victory hopefully laid the foundation for the beginning of a key stretch of central division games after concluding their five game streak against metropolitan division teams. The Stars’ broke their pattern of previous wins against the Blackhawks this season ending in tight games, coming out on top in one OT in November and another after a shootout earlier this month.
Though it might have been considered a risky move on Hitchcock’s part to put Bishop in the crease after falling to the Capitals on Tuesday in OT, Big Ben bounced back with an extraordinary shutout, letting the rest of the team deal accordingly with his counterpart in Chicago’s net, Corey Crawford.
The first period was chippy to say the least, being marked by hard hits and long playing stretches. The board remained scoreless until 2:49 was left on the clock with captain Jamie Benn scoring his 15th goal of the season, assisted by Remi Elie. Dallas started out the second frame sharp with left winger Roussel tipping it in a little over one minute into regulation with a beautiful deflection off of a point shot by Hamhuis. Tyler Seguin ushered in his tally streak of the night scoring on the power play by scooping up a nice rebound off of Crawford to make it 3-0. Paired with the efforts of Devin Shore, Seguin closed out the period with an additional goal, catching Crawford out of position with a sneaky wrister finding its way to the back of the net. With the Stars keeping it at 4-0 for the rest of the game, you could see each Chicago fan in red begin to file out of the arena in shame.
“Chicago is one of those teams where you raise up your game,” said Seguin. “Now we have to figure out how to do this with the real big boys in our division and that’s Nashville and Winnipeg. We got a good Saturday night test coming up.”
The Stars showed balanced effort, with each line contributing in their own way, and did a phenomenal job in winning confrontations against the wall in both zones. The abrasiveness demonstrated tonight proved that they’re ready to go in the upcoming home stand, starting out facing the Nashville Predators on Friday at 7pm.
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