After a very poor effort in Patrick Kane's 1,000th career game Tuesday night, the Blackhawks were searching for a much needed victory on Thursday against the Dallas Stars.
The Blackhawks didn't wait long to take the game's first lead. Five minutes in, Dominik Kubalik finished off a breakaway beating Anton Khudobin to score his 10th goal of the season. Both David Kampf and Brandon Hagel made great plays through the neutral zone to spring Kubalik.
The goal by Kubalik wound up being the only shot the Blackhawks recorded at 5v5 in the first period. The visitors were outshot 15 to four, but had a one-goal lead after twenty minutes.
Kevin Lankinen, making his 18th start of the season, looked sharp early and made enough saves in the first period for its own highlight reel.
The Blackhawks began the second period killing off the remaining 43 seconds of a Stars' power play before converting on their own opportunity. Adam Boqvist let a wrist shot go from the blue line and Carl Soderberg deflected the shot past Khudobin to double the Blackhawks' lead. Soderberg now has five goals on the season and has done well in his new role on the power play.
Later in the period, the Blackhawks extended their lead to three on just their seventh shot of the game. Duncan Keith wired one from the high slot to score his first goal of the season. The Blackhawks scored on both of their two shots at 5v5 and despite being badly outshot, were controlling the game on the scoreboard.
In the final minutes of the second period, the Blackhawks went back to the power play for the fourth time. With Soderberg once again parked in front of Khudobin, Alex DeBrincat walked into a laser of a shot from the right circle to score his team-high 15th goal of the season. The Blackhawks to this point scored four goals on just eight shots.
Lankinen continued to stand on his head to keep Dallas scoreless. The Blackhawks finished the second period killing off 35 seconds of a Stars' two-man advantage and entered the final frame with a four-goal lead.
Dallas went on to score two goals in garbage time to spoil Lankinen's shutout in the third period, but the Blackhawks did just enough to secure the 4-2 win.
The Blackhawks are now 14-9-5 and are currently in a playoff spot at the halfway point of the season.
The Blackhawks had four different goal scorers in tonight's win. Keith scored his first of the season, while DeBrincat continued to roll and now has 15 goals in 24 games played. Soderberg and Kubalik each added a goal apiece. Sure, the Blackhawks recorded just 16 shots in the game, but they made the most of their opportunities and got contributions from players throughout the lineup.
The Blackhawks were outshot 30 to 16, but they only allowed six high-danger chances at 5v5 and a total of two goals in the game. Lankinen was a major reason why, but as a team, the Blackhawks were also able to keep the Stars to the outside and only had a few blunders defensively. In season's past, the Blackhawks were too soft through the middle of the ice and their defensive zone coverage was sub-par. This season the team is executing the defensive zone structure coach Jeremy Colliton installed his first day on the job and are limiting grade-A scoring chances from their opponents.
What's On Tap Next?
The Blackhawks continue their road trip as they head to Florida to take on the Panthers on Saturday at 6:00 PM CST. The Blackhawks are 0-2 against the Panthers this season, but are a much different team since the last times these two played on January 19.