Another comeback win as the Hawks continue to roll in Dallas - KMSP-TV

Another comeback win as the Hawks continue to roll in Dallas

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

After defeating the Dallas Stars in a shootout 2-1, the Chicago Blackhawks have compiled a league high 42 points. The Hawks not only lead in points, but they can also make a strong case for being the best show in the NHL.

Saturday night's contest wasn't an outstanding display of hockey by Chicago but it did feature another entertaining comeback. The Stars have to be given credit for playing a solid defensive structure but the Hawks were not very sharp. Fatigue has to play a part as this was the sixth game of a long road trip. Maybe that was the cause, but this was about as loose as the Blackhawks have played in their own zone in a long time. If not for some outstanding stops by Corey Crawford the game would have ended badly in regulation.

Going into the third period Dallas had a slim 1-0 lead and to the Hawks credit they were engaged and played simple hockey when it counted the most. Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen was also very sharp and Duncan Keith followed the golden rule and just got the puck on net. Patrick Sharp was perched in front and provided a nifty deflection to tie the game at 7:21.

The game went into overtime and remained tied. The shootout was knotted at one goal each until the 11th shooter Ben Smith won the game. If the shootout was discontinued immediately it wouldn't bother me in the least. Although when a game goes past five or six shooters it does hold my interest. Both goaltenders were in a zone and they appeared to know where almost every shot was going before it was released.

In the opening period Crawford contributed to the lone Dallas goal by fumbling the puck behind the net and getting caught out of position. That was Crawford's only flaw of the night as he kept his mates in the game. He also stopped a penalty shot with some help from the post. Crawford has stopped four penalty shots this season and is a perfect 9-9 in his career.

Patrick Kane led the Blackhawks with five shots on goal but saw his 11 game point streak snapped. Keith notched his 21st assist which leads all NHL defensemen. Nick Leddy was aggressive and skating well trying to create some offense. Leddy and Johnny Oduya were the only Chicago defensemen not guilty of having a giveaway.

The final game of the circus road trip will be Saturday night in Phoenix. The Coyotes always play the Blackhawks tough and have a scheduling advantage as they were idle on Friday.

No matter what happens versus Phoenix the road trip has been very successful. The Hawks have already banked 10 of 12 possible points.

Joel Quenneville may feel compelled to stick with Crawford after his fine performance. If not, Antti Raanta will get his second start in the NHL.

Al's Shots

Keith led all Chicago players with 26:48 of ice time.

After a few miscues in the preceding game, Brandon Pirri played only 9:52 in Dallas. Pirri's ice time was his least since October 19. That was only his third game in Chicago. Pirri was a winner only once in five attempts in the faceoff circle.

Friday night was only the sixth time all season the Blackhawks trailed after the opening period. The Dallas game also marked the third time on this road trip the Hawks trailed entering the third period and won the game.

I will be back Sunday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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