CHICAGO – Even without Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, the Chicago Blackhawks can generate offence.
They proved that Wednesday night, beating the Dallas Stars 8-3.
Rookies Bryan Bickell and Jeremy Morin scored goals and the Blackhawks were able to hang on after building a three-goal lead in the second period, then watching Dallas cut the lead to a goal.
“We were better in the third period and we had to be,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “This has been a trend around here for at least a year or two. We get up by three or four and we lose our concentration.”
Chicago led 4-1 after Troy Brouwer’s goal 2:21 into the second, but Dallas rallied behind goals late in the period by Brandon Segal and Loui Eriksson 1:05 apart. Quenneville immediately called time to focus his players, then had plenty to say to them between periods.
“He just gave us a little slap in the butt to get us going,” Bickell said. “We just needed to shut them down.”
The Stars took 13 of their 31 shots in the final period, but goalie Corey Crawford turned them all away.
Dallas coach Marc Crawford was angry that a potential penalty shot infraction went uncalled in the final minute. Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook’s stick slid out of his hands, and Crawford thought he was trying to knock the puck away from Trevor Daley. Nothing was called, prompting Crawford to scream obscenities at the officials as they went to their locker room.
“You can’t miss a call like that at the end of the game,” Crawford said. “There’s no excuse. It’s a penalty shot in every sense of the word. You’ve got to be focused in on that.”
Dallas had one power play to Chicago’s six, but the Blackhawks squandered them all.
“We lost a lot of momentum when we had two in a row in the second period,” Quenneville said. “We didn’t take advantage. All of a sudden, it was a real hockey game.”
It was the second straight win and fifth in the last six games for the Stanley Cup champions.
Chicago evened its home record at 8-8-0 and moved into fourth in the Western Conference with 34 points. Dallas, second in the Western Conference, is 0-1-1 after winning six straight.
Bickell and Jonathan Toews scored Chicago’s first-period goals, with two other shots ringing off the posts.
Bickell shrugged off a check from Dallas defenceman Matt Niskanen in the slot and beat Andrew Raycroft with a wrist shot to the glove side at 3:18. Toews scored his 13th goal of the season with a wrist shot from deep on right wing that deflected off Dallas defenceman Stephane Robidas in crease.
Chicago expanded its lead to 4-1 with goals by Morin and Brouwer early in the second period.
James Neal had the Dallas goal, and the Stars rallied late in the second period with goals 1:05 apart by Segal and Eriksson. Segal beat Crawford with a screened 55-foot wrist shot, and Eriksson converted Brad Richards’ pass into a score from the right-wing crease.
Patrick Sharp scored an empty-net goal for Chicago in the last second.
The Blackhawks were playing their first game without Kane, whose sprained left ankle will keep him out for up to three weeks. Hossa missed his fourth straight game because of a lower-body injury.
NOTES: Dallas outshot Chicago 31-25. Chicago placed Hossa on injured reserve while bringing up rookie forwards Morin and Rob Klinkhammer. Morin played five games for the Blackhawks earlier this season. … Crawford, the Hawks’ backup goalie, has started six of the last eight games, and got the nod ahead of former Dallas goalie Marty Turco.