A power-play goal to break a recent rut, defensemen getting in on the offense and solid goaltending off the top: The Chicago Blackhawks were looking for a well-rounded game, and they got that on Tuesday night.
Duncan Keith and Andrew Shaw each had a goal and an assist, and Corey Crawford won his 29th game of the season as the Blackhawks beat the Dallas Stars, 4-2, at the United Center. The Blackhawks have 99 points and remain three points ahead of Colorado, a shootout winner Tuesday over Nashville.
Teuvo Teravainen looked strong in his NHL debut, especially in the faceoff circle, where he won all seven of his draws.
"It was fun to play," Teravainen said. "And it's good that we won, so that's the best thing."
Kris Versteeg and Marian Hossa scored, Patrick Sharp had two assists while Jonathan Toews had an assist and won 23 of 28 faceoffs.
The Blackhawks were facing a Stars team fighting for a playoff spot, and Dallas showed the appropriate amount of jump at the start. The Stars were also getting some prime scoring chances that Crawford kept at bay.
“I got into the game pretty quick,” said Crawford, who, among other opportunities, faced a Ryan Garbutt breakaway early. “I felt good off the start. I’ve had pretty good preparation this year and was able to make some key saves early. It was just a game when I was seeing the puck well and our guys were playing well in front of me.”
Indeed they were. The Blackhawks fired 41 shots on Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen — the remaining shot was Hossa’s empty-net goal with 33.3 seconds left in regulation. They tightened up defensively as the game wore on and broke an 0-for-9 skid on the power play.
“I liked our game,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was a good start; scoring first again helps. I thought we did some good things throughout the game, all four lines were contributing and special teams were good as well. It was a good win.”
[WATCH: Shaw joins Blackhawks Postgame Live]
Shaw got in on that power-play starter; from his knees, Shaw backhanded a Sharp rebound shot past Lehtonen for a 1-0 lead. Versteeg’s goal came early in the second to make it 2-0.
Garbutt cut it to 2-1 on a pretty move and backhand shot, but about three minutes later Keith’s blast got through traffic and Lehtonen to make it 3-1.
“I’m trying to be cognizant of the fact that we want to try and hit the net, get it on net, and try to work on my shot,” said Keith, who recorded his sixth of the season. “It’s a work in progress; I’m trying to get it better.”
The Blackhawks were better in a lot of areas, coming off that 2-0 loss to Nashville on Sunday. They’re still in the thick of things, still trying to at least keep ahead of the Avalanche as the regular season nears its end. Tuesday was a good move in that direction.
“(The Stars) can skate and play the puck and move their feet. They definitely challenged our D, and our D were great today,” Crawford said. “It was another good win for us on home ice against a team that was battling hard.”