The Chicago Blackhawks did their part Tuesday, defeating the
Dallas Stars 4-2 at the United Center.
Meanwhile, one of Chicago's biggest Western Conference rivals, the
Phoenix Coyotes, stood in the Blackhawks' way of making a playoff
berth official — one day after Chicago put tickets on sale for the
first two rounds of the playoffs.
Had Phoenix lost to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, Chicago (42-16-15) would
have been in and could have relaxed somewhat in its nine remaining
Instead, the Coyotes — fighting for their own playoff berth — defeated the Penguins 3-2 to remain in the eighth and final
postseason position in the West.
Not only did Phoenix's win not sit well with the Blackhawks, but it
affected Dallas' playoff hopes even more. With the loss, the Stars
(34-27-11) fall three points behind Phoenix (35-26-12) for the final
Western Conference playoff slot.
"The last 10 we have here aren't going to be easy," Dallas forward
Jamie Benn said of the Stars' remaining regular-season games. "We're
going to have to find a way to stick together and try to get as many
points as we can."
Added Dallas coach Lindy Ruff, whose team is three points ahead of
Vancouver (33-30-10), "We didn't have enough."
Chicago skated off the ice in much better position.
"It was a big win tonight," said Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith,
who scored a goal. "(Dallas is) a hungry team, fighting for their
playoff lives, and we knew that. We talked about that coming into
Chicago played significantly better than it did in Sunday's 2-0 loss
to the Nashville Predators, a game in which the Blackhawks appeared
That wasn't the case Tuesday, though.
"I liked our game, thought we had a good start," Blackhawks coach
Joel Quenneville said. "Scoring first again helps. I thought we did
some good things throughout the game. All four lines were
contributing, and I thought our special teams were good as well.
Quenneville wasn't joking the importance of the first goal. The
Blackhawks are 33-1-7 when scoring first this season, 8-15-8 when
their opponent scores first.
When left winger Brandon Bollig's empty-net goal with a minute to
play was disallowed, veteran right winger Marian Hossa completed
what Bollig started 33 seconds later, scoring his 26th goal of the
regular season into the empty net with 34 seconds left to seal the
Bollig's apparent goal was waved off because officials ruled he
deflected a shot with his stick above his shoulder. Video replays
showed the referees were correct in their call.
While Hossa picked up the team seconds later, Bollig was still
ticked about the call, getting into a late fight with Dallas left
winger Antoine Roussel. Both players were sent to the penalty box
for the final 22 seconds of the game.
Center Andrew Shaw put the Blackhawks on the scoreboard first with
18 seconds remaining in the first period. His 19th goal of the
season came on the power play. Left winger Patrick Sharp took a slap
shot from near the blue line. The puck bounced off Stars goalie Kari
Lehtonen, and Shaw was there to backhand the rebound into the net.
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At 4:12 of the second period, right winger Kris Versteeg tipped a
shot by Keith past Lehtonen for his 12th goal of the season, giving
Chicago a 2-0 advantage. The goal originally was credited to Hossa
but was changed after the second period ended.
Any hopes that the Blackhawks and goalie Corey Crawford had of a
shutout were dashed at 10:56 of the middle period when center Ryan
Garbutt drove through the crease and slipped a backhander past
Crawford, closing Chicago's lead to 2-1. Garbutt registered his 13th
goal of the season.
The Blackhawks quickly got their two-goal edge back at 14:15 when
Keith's slap shot from just outside the left circle slid past
Lehtonen, whose view was blocked by a number of players in front of
the net. It was Keith's sixth goal of the season and third in the
past five games. He added an assist, his team-leading 51st.
Dallas didn't give up in the third period. Garbutt scored his second
goal of the night at 14:20, threatening to send the Blackhawks off
on a three-game road trip on the wrong foot.
Crawford stopped 25 of Dallas' 27 shots to improve to 29-13-10.
Lehtonen stopped 38 of Chicago's 42 shots, and his record fell to
The Blackhawks won the season series with Dallas, four games to one.
Tuesday marked the Blackhawks debut of 19-year-old forward Teuvo
Teravainen, who was called up from Jokerit in his native Finland. In
49 games with Jokerit, Teravainen had nine goals and 35 assists.
Teravainen played just over 11 minutes but did not record any stats.
NOTES: Out since March 18, Chicago D Michal Rozsival is reportedly
progressing nicely from his lower-body injury, and he could be back
with the team before the regular season ends. However, it is likely
that Blackhawks G Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body/shoulder) will not
be back for the remainder of the season or the playoffs. ... Chicago
plays six of its nine remaining regular-season games on the road,
starting a three-game trip Thursday at Boston against the Bruins.
... Dallas hosts the Nashville Predators on Friday before beginning
a five-game road trip. ... F Dustin Jeffrey joined the Stars on
Tuesday after being recalled from the AHL Texas Stars on Monday, the
same day F Chris Mueller was sent back down. ... The attendance was
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