The Chicago Blackhawks knew they were going to get a fight from a desperate Dallas Stars team. But when the Stars landed a game-tying punch in the form of a Jamie Benn goal in the third period, the Blackhawks’ counters proved too much.
Andrew Shaw scored the game-winning goal just one minute, 24 seconds after the Stars tied it, and the Blackhawks added two more after that in a 5-2 victory over the Stars on Monday night. It was the sixth consecutive victory for the Blackhawks, who are now 33-5-4 overall.
The Blackhawks didn’t do a whole lot wrong in this one. The Stars, fighting for a playoff spot and riding a five-game winning streak, weren’t going down without a fight. But Shaw’s timely goal, just 1:24 after Benn’s second of the game, was the first of three daggers the Blackhawks would land in the final 15 minutes of regulation.
So much for the Blackhawks stepping on the brakes in the third period.
“It was definitely a nice goal to score on the ensuing shift,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “They got some momentum [on Benn’s goal]. We still weren’t giving up much. It was one of those nights where you knew you had to be good offensively. It was a big goal for them at the time, and obviously turned into a huge goal on our side.”
[WATCH: Coach Q breaks down the Blackhawks' victory over the Stars]
Marian Hossa, who had an empty-net goal with 27 seconds remaining, added two assists. Ray Emery improved to 16-1-0, stopping 16 of 18 shots. Jonathan Toews had a goal and an assist.
For the Blackhawks, it was just about being opportunistic.
“We stuck to our game; we played solid defense. When you play good defense, the offensive chances come. When we got those, we buried them as often as we could,” Shaw said. “Overall, we played great in every aspect.”
Shaw and Viktor Stalberg each scored on Monday, as the Blackhawks’ third line was in top form once again. It was another night that the Blackhawks weren’t satisfied and kept pushing for more, right to the end of regulation.
“We’re just playing good hockey,” defenseman Duncan Keith said. “All those little things that we try to do, it’s important we keep doing them. We just play one game at a time and try to play our best game every night. I don’t think it’s any more than that.”
Perhaps not, but the consistency and success rate is staggering nonetheless. The Blackhawks are finishing this regular season much like they started it: dominating, pushing, working and winning. A lot.
“It does feel similar. Whether we’re down a goal, up a goal, we find a way to come back and finish the job in the third or in overtime,” Toews said. “We’re just playing solid hockey. I think we’re hungry to play every single night. I think that’s the No. 1 similarity. Other than that, we’re having fun. We’d rather be winning than coming up on the short end.”