CHICAGO – Patrick Kane knows where to look when he’s trying to set up a goal: just inside the blue-line.
Kane scored and set up goals by defencemen Cam Barker and Brent Sopel, leading the Chicago Blackhawks to a 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Friday night. “Ever since I’ve been here there’s been a lot of production from the defensive corps,” Kane said. “Barker and Sopel, big goals there. They got us going. You get those guys to chip in, it’s real good for the team.”
Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien also scored for Chicago, which remained unbeaten in regulation at home (4-0-2).
“We have to start winning some games on the road,” Kane said of the Hawks, 0-3-1 on the road. “But we have a nice home stretch here and we’ve got to take advantage of it.”
Kane has six goals and six assists in 10 games in 2008-09 after leading rookies in scoring with 21 goals and 51 assists in 82 games last year.
“I like the way we compete and we generated a lot of offence tonight,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Loui Eriksson and Steve Ott scored for Dallas, which opened a five-game road trip.
Chicago’s Nikolai Khabibulin made 21 saves. The Blackhawks killed all five of Dallas’ power plays, including a one minute, eight second 5-on-3 advantage midway through the second when the game was tied at two.
The Stars didn’t manage a shot during the two-man advantage.
“I always feel if you get a 5-on-3 and you don’t score, you generally don’t win the game,” Quenneville said. “We found out the other day when we came out on the short end of it and didn’t score. Tonight we had a huge kill.”
Dallas backup goalie Tobias Stephan stopped 27 shots in his second straight start in place of struggling Marty Turco. Stephan earned his first NHL victory on Wednesday, 4-2 over Minnesota. Friday’s start was only his second this season and third in the NHL.
On Friday, Stephan didn’t get much support.
“We made too many mistakes to win the game,” Dallas coach Dave Tippett said. “We wanted to play a sound road game. We weren’t close to playing a sound road game.”
“You just can’t give them outnumbered breaks,” he added. “That’s just brain cramps and turnovers by us.”
The Stars entered the game with an NHL-worst 3.95 team goals-against average. Turco has a 4.26 goals-against and .842 save percentage.
“We gave them a lot of outnumbered rushes. We’re not going to win a lot of games like that,” Dallas forward Mike Ribeiro said. “If you give up five goals, you’re not going to win a lot of games.”
Eriksson opened the scoring 6:17 in, scoring from the right edge of the crease after taking Brenden Morrow’s cross-ice feed.
Barker’s power-play goal midway through the first tied it at one. Barker, playing his second game since being recalled from Rockford of the AHL on Monday, connected on a screened drive from the top of the slot.
Kane put Chicago ahead 2-1 with 1:10 left in the first when he took a pass from Martin Havlat to complete a 2-on-1 break.
Ott tied it two-all at 7:39 of the second on a breakaway from centre ice.
Sopel restored Chicago’s lead 3-2 with 6:34 left in the second. Left uncovered at the right point, Sopel took Kane’s pass from the left boards, skated to the top the circle and ripped a high shot that clanked in off the left post.
Ladd and Byfuglien each scored their first goals of the season late in the third to seal Chicago’s victory.
Ladd scored on a 2-on-1 with 6:10 left in the third to make it 4-2. Byfuglien made it 5-2 just over two minutes later when he connected from the edge of the crease.
Notes: Dallas C Brad Richards missed the game with a lower-body injury. The Stars did not disclose how long Richards might be out. Dallas RW Jere Lehtinen missed his 11th game with a groin injury and D Doug Janik missed his sixth straight with an eye injury. Both are day to day and could return within a week. Stars D Sergei Zubov, who has not played this season due to hip injury, is expected to return next Friday at Anaheim. … Chicago D Niklas Hjalmarsson missed his seventh game with bruised ribs. … Sopel’s goal was his first since Jan. 11, 2008. … Stephan made his first NHL start against the Blackhawks last season, stopping 38 of 40 shots in a 2-1 overtime loss on Oct. 13, 2007.