By Jeff Arnold, The Sports Xchange
CHICAGO — Out of the corner of his eye, Mattias Janmark could tell he had a step on the fast-charging defenseman, so it came down to whether he would be the first to reach the puck.
Once he did, Janmark had just one thought: Elevate a shot enough to make a difference.
Janmark scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner 51 seconds into overtime, as the Dallas Stars won their third consecutive game with a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.
The Stars, who have struggled to win on the road this season, won their second straight away game and absorbed every punch the Blackhawks threw at them — especially in the first 10 minutes of the third period.
“We’re finding ways to win games the right way both home and away,” Janmark said. “It’s a big win.”
Janmark notched the winner after Chicago tied the game 3-3 with 4:34 elapsed in the third when Patrick Kane redirected a Gustav Forsling shot past goalie Ben Bishop. The Blackhawks had only 10 shots on goal through two periods, but they quickly matched that total over the first six minutes of the third to keep pressure on the Stars.
After Kane scored the equalizer, Dallas controlled the pace and kept the Blackhawks from taking a lead before Janmark scored in overtime.
“(Chicago) gave us a push,” Stars coach Ken Hitchcock said. “They gave us a huge push in the second period, we answered back, they gave us a huge push at the start of the third, we answered back.
“I was really happy with our response.”
Dallas took the lead three times in regulation, only to see the Blackhawks draw even. After failing to manage a shot on goal for more than 10 minutes of the second period, the Stars capitalized on a Chicago turnover at center ice to take a 3-2 lead.
Remi Elie flipped a shot past Crawford and after taking a pass from Radek Faksa at 14:04 of the middle period.
The Blackhawks used an Artem Anisimov power-play goal 1:02 into the second period to tie the game 2-2. Anisimov took a pinpoint pass from Kane, who found Anisimov in front of the net and threaded a pass through traffic and onto Anisimov’s stick.
However, the power play was also where the Blackhawks struggled in the loss. Chicago scored on 1 of 7 chances with a man advantage, which Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said impacted the way his team performed the rest of the night.
“We didn’t generate enough (on the power play) when we were out there,” Quenneville said. “We lost momentum in the game with our power play tonight.”
Dallas took a 2-1 lead with 2:40 remaining in the first period when Faksa — who was coming off a hat trick in a victory over Vegas — scored on a penalty shot to give the Stars their second lead of the night.
The Stars and Blackhawks traded goals nine seconds apart in the first period. Janmark gave Dallas a 1-0 lead with a wraparound goal before Alex DeBrincat answered for Chicago with a laser that beat Bishop at the 14:55 mark of the first.
After going back and forth throughout the night, the Stars maintained their composure when it mattered most, which Hitchcock said would be a difference-maker as the season continues — especially when division play heats up.
“You build your game through adversity,” Hitchcock said. “You’ve got to go through tough times. You don’t build it through the good times, you build it through the tough times.
“We played 55 good minutes tonight, and it was a good sign. We competed — we competed like heck and we deserved to win.”