Great show but bad outcome as Dallas edges Chicago 4-3 - KMSP-TV

Great show but bad outcome as Dallas edges Chicago 4-3

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Chicago Blackhawks put on another great show but this time the outcome wasn't a good one. Chicago was looking to win their seventh straight but instead lost for only the second time in regulation on home ice this season. The opportunistic Dallas Stars scored four goals on just 18 shots and downed the Hawks 4-3.

There were reasons for the Blackhawks to not be as sharp as they have been for close to 30 minutes to start Tuesday night's contest. The first game back after a long road trip is often difficult as a lack of focus can be an issue. The Blackhawks have dominated the Stars over the last couple of years although Dallas often puts up a good fight. So maybe the Hawks took the Stars lightly even though they had won six of their last seven road games.

From a puck possession and shot standpoint the opening period was dominated by the Blackhawks. It seemed if they could score the first goal Dallas would be in for a long night, but the exact opposite happened. The Stars took advantage of some good fortune and made the most of their chances. Dallas recorded only five shots in the first frame, the Hawks had 16, but the visitors carried a 2-0 lead into the locker room.

After the tough, and sometimes dirty Antoine Roussel elbowed Jonathan Toews at center ice and was sent to the penalty box the Hawks woke up. Patrick Sharp scored on the subsequent power play and then Nick Leddy tallied less than seven minutes later. With the United Center rocking and Dallas back on their heels, Johnny Oduya was credited with his third goal and the score was tied at three. My eyes may be deceiving me but it looked like Oduya's shot was tipped in by Marcus Kruger, in any event the Hawks had fought back.

In the third period, Roussel made the most of a breakdown and went in on a breakaway. Niklas Hjalmarsson hooked Roussel but it was a questionable penalty shot call. In the opening frame Patrick Sharp was slashed on a similar play which inhibited his shot but was not awarded a penalty shot. The Hawks put themselves in a position to let the officials help determine the outcome by falling behind by three goals. So in essence the officiating shouldn't be used as an excuse, although it was subpar, as the slow start was the reason for the loss.

When the best player on the ice is the opposing goalkeeper that usually spells trouble. Corey Crawford has had much better outings but Kari Lehtonen had an outstanding game. Lehtonen stopped 47 of 50 shots. The Hawks attempted 85 shots in total as 25 were blocked and 10 missed the target. Lehtonen stole the game and he is having a fine campaign.

The Blackhawks will not hold practice on Wednesday before taking to the road for a Thursday clash versus the Minnesota Wild. The Hawks will then meet a tough foe on home ice Friday as the Anaheim Ducks come to town.

Al's Shots

Nick Leddy wasn't very noticeable in the first period but he caught the ire of Joel Quenneville early in the second frame. Leddy left the front of the net open and Erik Cole scored to give Dallas a 3-0 lead.

Quenneville sat Leddy at the end of the bench for almost 13 minutes and then mixed up all the defensive pairings. When Leddy returned he looked like a new player and quickly scored a goal. Leddy plays soft at times and isn't as assertive as he should be.

Quenneville may show Leddy more tough love as he will have two extra defensemen soon as Michael Kostka is set to return. Leddy has a lot of talent and if he brings his "A" game more often he will be a force.

In the Brandon Pirri watch, he started out as the second line center because Michal Handzus was out sick. When the final horn sounded Pirri played only 10:49 and was not credited with a shot. Pirri was a dismal 21% in the faceoff circle as he won only 3-of-14 draws.

Sharp scored a goal and along with Marian Hossa recorded a game high seven shots.

Patrick Kane was named the first star for November by the NHL and he had another strong showing. Kane had five shots on goal and picked up two assists.

You can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia and I will be back on Friday morning.

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