By Stephen Hunt, The Sports Xchange
DALLAS — Despite blowing a lead early in the third period, the Chicago Blackhawks hung tough and were rewarded.
Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk scoring the eventual game-winning goal with 4:03 remaining and Corey Crawford stopping 31 shots as the Blackhawks left American Airlines Center with a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
Van Riemsdyk’s goal, his second of the season, came after Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen (31 saves) denied the initial attempt from Artem Anisimov. Van Riemsdyk was in the slot to knock in the carom.
“(I) thought we did a lot of good things, find a way to come back when we’re losing a game,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “(We’re) behind and all of a sudden (Kane) makes an extremely amazing play with quickness and beats him (Lehtonen) with a nice move and we’re back in the game. Another nice finish on the winner and we’ll take it.”
Ryan Hartman, Gustav Frosling, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews also scored for Chicago (32-17-5), which also got two assists from Anisimov and Marian Hossa. The Blackhawks are 4-0-0 against Dallas this season.
Dallas (21-22-10) got goals from Radek Faksa, Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. The Stars finished their season-long six-game homestand at 2-2-2.
“It’s not good enough,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of the homestand. “Again, you could say we let points slip away.”
Dallas fell to 0-18-2 when trailing after two periods.
“It’s a terrible loss, especially after we took the lead and we gave their best player (Kane) a free look, and then we get a (defenseman) trapped on the game-winner. That’s not good hockey at all,” Ruff said.
After a scoreless opening period, Faksa gave Dallas a lead with his eighth goal of the season eight seconds into the second period, the fastest second-period tally in club history.
Faksa won the opening faceoff against Toews at center ice and after Devin Shore and Dan Hamhuis touched the puck, Faksa scored with a wrist shot from the left circle that got through Crawford.
“I don’t know, I just didn’t pick it up,” Crawford said of the Faksa goal.
Following several close calls, Chicago pulled the game level 6:20 into the second when Hartman roofed a Tanner Kero pass into the top of the Dallas net for his 12th goal. Kero’s pass came from the right circle off the rush.
“Yeah, I was thinking high glove the whole time. I maybe not have gotten all of it, but it ended up working well,” Hartman said. “I don’t know if it went under or over his glove.”
Lehtonen denied Kane on a breakaway 8:08 into the second. Looking to tuck the puck inside the far side of the net, Kane went to his backhand, but Lehtonen blocked the far post with his left pad to deny the chance.
Chicago took its first lead 8:34 into the second when Forsling beat Lehtonen on a slap shot from the high slot for his second of the season. Lehtonen was screened on the play by Marcus Kruger and didn’t see Forsling’s blast, which deflected off and broke the shaft of ex-Blackhawk Patrick Sharp’s stick before going in.
The goal was reviewed to see if there was a high stick in front of the net, but there was not and the goal stood. The Blackhawks led 2-1 after two periods.
Benn made it 2-2 with his 16th goal 40 seconds into the third period. Benn was to the left of the Chicago goal when he flipped in a backhand, beating Crawford far post for the equalizer.
Seguin put Dallas ahead 3-2 with his 19th goal 9:24 into the third period. Seguin stole the puck from Forsling behind the Chicago goal, hit the afterburners and scored from almost the same spot as Benn with a wrist shot that deflected in off Crawford’s left pad.
Chicago answered 35 seconds later when Kane showed his impressive speed and deft stickhandling, skating through the crease before slipping a backhand inside the near post for his 17th goal.
“When we have a lead, we’ve got to lock it down and we have to be sharp, and we especially have to make sure their best players don’t get chances to score,” Benn said. “It was close, but close isn’t good enough right now where we are sitting.”
Lehtonen left the ice with 2:15 remaining, but the Stars were unable to find the equalizer and spent the final 1:03 shorthanded after Benn was called for tripping.
Toews added an empty-net goal with 0.9 seconds remaining, scoring his 10th from the slot.
“We’re scoring a lot of goals right now,” Crawford said. “We’re never out of a game.”