Chicago stays perfect
Team matches 1972-73 squad’s 4-0 start
By Chris Kuc
DALLAS – Marian Hossa knew something was up when Patrick Kane didn’t shoot the puck.
The Blackhawks winger worked his way into the open, and Kane didn’t disappoint with a backhanded pass that Hossa rifled past goaltender Kari Lehtonen in overtime to give the Hawks a dramatic 3-2 victory over the Stars on Thursday night at American Airlines Center.
“[Kane] didn’t take a shot, so I knew right away he’s got something in his mind,” said Hossa, who scored his fifth goal in four games. “You just have to be ready to unleash it. You have to be ready because he’ll find you.”
The goal capped a comeback from a 2-0 deficit for the Hawks as they matched the 1972-73 team that opened 4-0 and moved one victory from tying the franchise-best start of 5-0, set in 1971-72.
“I didn’t know that stat, but that’s huge,” Hossa said of equaling the best start in 40 years. “We just have to build on it.”
Patrick Sharp had a goal and two assists, and Jonathan Toews also scored as the Hawks got three power-play goals to spoil a splendid night for Lehtonen, who made 38 saves. Corey Crawford hung tough after Loui Erikkson and Ray Whitney gave Dallas a 2-0 lead midway through the second period.
“It seems like everyone was playing well, especially when their goalie was standing on his head,” said Crawford, who made 21 saves. “Sometimes you can get frustrated when the other guy is making big save after big save, but we just stuck with it.”
The Hawks finally got one past Lehtonen, and it came via help from Stars defenseman Trevor Daley. While on the power play, Sharp spotted Viktor Stalberg camped on the doorstep and sent a cross-crease pass toward him. Daley got a stick on it, and the puck slid past Lehtonen.
Toews got the equalizer in the third when he blasted a shot from the left circle to beat Lehtonen to the stick side.
“That was a huge goal,” Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. “We just kept working it and shooting and getting pucks on net. [Lehtonen] made a lot of big saves; he’s a good goalie. We knew that if we kept playing the same way … we were going to keep getting chances, and it paid off.”
Kane finished with two assists as the Hawks won the first of a two-game trip.
“To us it was almost like, ‘Just keep going,’ ” Kane said after Lehtonen repeatedly denied the Hawks. “It was almost fun to watch how good he was playing. He was making acrobatic save after acrobatic save.”
Crawford has won all three of his starts. Thursday’s featured a terrific stop on Ryan Garbutt’s second-period penalty shot.
“It was a great win,” Keith said. “We were down by two and stuck with it and were able to pull out a win on the road.”