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Kris Versteeg scores in fifth round of shootout as Blackhawks beat Stars 4-3

CHICAGO - Kris Versteeg's strategy in the fifth round of a shootout Tuesday night was not to have one.

"It was just going in and shooting and hoping it went in," Versteeg said after he beat Dallas goalie Marty Turco and gave the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 victory over the Stars. "Turco, he's a heck of a goaltender," Versteeg said. "You don't want to do too much in the shootout. Go down and keep it simple."

The Blackhawks got their second straight win following a season-high three-game losing streak. Patrick Kane had a pair for first-period goals, his team-best 23rd and 24th of the season. And backup goaltender Antti Niemi got the call for a second straight game and responded.

Niemi, who had stops on Mike Modano and Brad Richards on the power play in overtime to preserve the tie, finished with 24 saves. He's now 15-4-1.

"In overtime, it's easier to play because you've already gained one point," Niemi said.

And he pitched a shutout in the shootout.

"I don't like thinking before. I just react to what the player does," Niemi added.

Dallas' Loui Eriksson tied it 3-3 with 3:50 left in regulation, scoring from just outside the crease following a turnover by Chicago.

Chicago had taken a 3-2 lead early in the final period on a goal by Troy Brouwer, who scored from the right circle after Marian Hossa fired the puck off the boards behind the net.

Mike Ribeiro and James Neal also scored in regulation for the Stars.

Turco had 37 saves for the Stars, who made a trade during the game in which they acquired goaltender Kari Lehtonen from Atlanta and sent defenceman Ivan Vishnevskiy and a fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft to the Thrashers.

"It was game where you knew it probably was going to come down near the end of the 60 minutes, and it did," Dallas coach Marc Crawford said.

"We're not disappointed with getting a point, but sure would have liked to get two. In the overtime, both team hit posts, so the margin of converting and not converting is pretty small."

Returning after missing 15 games with a throat injury, Ribeiro scored on a power play in the first. Fabian Brunnstrom dug the puck out from the boards, slid it to Neal in the right circle and he made a diagonal pass to a wide-open Ribeiro for the score.

"I felt cardio-wise I was good-to-go and it got better and better. I wasn't expecting that much ice time," said Ribeiro, who played over 17 minutes after returning from a scary injury last month. "I got lot of ice time. I played a lot more than I though I was going to play. I felt good. I got hit and I tried to hit to."

Chicago tied it when Kane skated into the left circle and wristed a shot right past Turco. Dallas got the lead back with just under two minutes to go in the opening period when Neal scored his team-high 24th goal on a rebound.

But Kane answered quickly, circling from behind the net and ripping another shot from the right circle that eluded Turco to make it 2-2.

Turco preserved the tie in the second with a sprawling save of an attempt by Dustin Byfuglien on a breakaway with just over two minutes to go in the period.

NOTES: Ribeiro was accidentally struck in the throat by the stick of New York's Christopher Higgins in the Rangers' 5-2 victory on Jan. 6. He spent several days in a New York hospital after undergoing a tracheotomy. He was activated from injured reserve Monday ... Stars forward Steve Ott was scratched after an emergency appendectomy Monday. ... On a snowy night in Chicago, the crowd was announced at 21,446 - the Blackhawks 80th consecutive sellout at the United Center.


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