By Tom Musick, The Sports Xchange
CHICAGO — Marian Hossa has been the best goal scorer on the Chicago Blackhawks all season.
On Sunday night, Hossa added a bit of good luck to his great achievements. He scored on a sharp-angle, 45-foot slap shot that trickled between the goaltender’s pads and into the net, and the Blackhawks pulled away for a 3-1 win over the Dallas Stars.
“Well, what can I say?” said Hossa, who leads the Blackhawks with 15 goals this season and moved past Jeremy Roenick for No. 38 on the all-time list with his 514th career goal. “I tried to shoot when I had a good opportunity. Tonight, out of nothing, I tried to release it, and I got one of those lucky ones.”
Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin also scored as the Blackhawks collected at least one point for the third straight game. Chicago (18-8-4) improved to 3-0-0 against Dallas this season.
Devin Shore scored the lone goal for the Stars. Dallas (11-13-6) lost for the second time in the past two days and fell to 2-5-1 in its last eight contests.
Stars captain Jamie Benn smarted in a quiet locker room after the loss. Dallas whiffed on a power-play opportunity early in the third period, and it faltered on the penalty kill a few minutes later as Panarin increased Chicago’s lead to two goals.
“We shoot ourselves in the foot,” Benn said. “That’s pretty much plain and simple. It seems like every team we play against, we give them a power play and they take advantage of it, and when we get one, we don’t. It’s costing us right now. We’re going to learn our lesson one of these days.”
Blackhawks goaltender Scott Darling made 23 saves on 24 shots to improve to 6-2-2. Darling has limited opponents to four goals in his past four starts.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville praised Darling for his reliability. Darling has served as the Blackhawks’ backup netminder for the past two-plus seasons, and he has been pressed into more frequent work recently as Corey Crawford recovers from an emergency appendectomy.
“The most consistent thing about our game this year has been our goaltending,” Quenneville said. “It’s been outstanding, night in (and) night out, no matter who’s been in the net. (Darling) has done a great job in (Crawford’s) absence and continues to give us a chance to win every single night.”
Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen turned aside 24 of 27 shots to drop to 6-10-3.
Panarin scored on a one-timer on the power play to pad Chicago’s lead with 9:57 to go in the third period. Duncan Keith faked a slap shot and instead zipped a pass to Panarin, who drilled a shot from the left circle for his 11th goal of the season.
Dallas opened the scoring early in the second period. Shore skated toward the right side of the crease and punched a loose puck past Darling for his third goal in the past two games.
Fifty-two seconds later, Chicago evened the score at 1 on Hossa’s long slap shot.
“That was a tough one,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. “(Lehtonen) made some good saves out there, but that’s one he would want back.”
The Blackhawks grabbed a 2-1 lead with 7:30 to go in the second period. Ryan Hartman fired a backhand shot and Anisimov scored on the rebound for his 12th goal of the season.
Hartman finished with one assist and a plus-minus rating of plus-2. His four shots on goal led the team.
“‘Hartsy’ is working hard,” Hossa said. “He’s a strong guy, and you can see it on the second goal where he outpowered the opponent. He’s not afraid going to the hard areas, and I think he’s just getting better.”
The Blackhawks improved to 12-2-3 on home ice. Their 12 victories at home are tied for second in the league.