The Blackhawks were clinging onto their 1-0 lead, with about 10 minutes separating them from their fifth consecutive victory and their first shutout of the season.
But about 10 minutes later, both of those possibilities were gone.
Marian Hossa scored his 24th goal of the season but the Dallas Stars scored three unanswered goals in the final 10:35 of the game to beat the Blackhawks 3-1 at the United Center on Thursday night. The Blackhawks had their four-game winning streak snapped and remain in sixth place, but failed to gain ground on fifth-place Nashville.
The Blackhawks were once again without captain Jonathan Toews, who was already out with an upper-body injury and then was in a minor one-car accident Thursday morning. Coach Joel Quenneville said Toews was at the game and is fine. Its undetermined if Toews will go on the Los AngelesAnaheim trip.
The loss was tough enough; but it was the way the Blackhawks lost that had Quenneville frustrated. The Blackhawks knew it was going to be a tight, close game, and the third-period lapses were costly.
Tough, tough, tough, brutal, Quenneville said of the waning minutes. These points were very valuable and we can look and say we gave them away. Tonight we didnt do enough to deserve the win and it was right in our hands and let it get away.
Hossa scored after a Michael Frolik steal midway through the second, when the Blackhawks outshot the Stars 16-5. But the third went the exact opposite way. The Stars found energy, and the Blackhawks inability to clear a few times led to a few Stars goals. Steve Ott and Michael Ryder had tip-in goals in front and Loui Eriksson knocked in a Ryder shot that deflected off Brent Seabrook.
We make a little mistake and couldnt clear the puck. They got (two tipped goals) and then the third we tried to defend on it too much, said Hossa, who had to leave the ice briefly to shake off blocking a Sheldon Souray shot. Some nights you have to grind like that. But the third period wasnt our best.
Viktor Stalberg said its a tough one to swallow when they score like that. We have to be better blocking those shots, not giving up those tips in front. Its a game, weve been playing pretty solid the last couple of games and we have to get back to that.
The Blackhawks tests continue this weekend, with back-to-back road games in Los Angeles and Anaheim. The Blackhawks have been playing pretty good hockey as of late. Theyd just rather forget the final 10 minutes or so of this one.
We didnt generate a whole lot (offensively) but we knew it was that kind of game, Quenneville said. We didnt have to do too much with the puck. We just had to get a couple of them out. To me that was the differential.