In the bottom of the eleventh inning in tonight’s shootout, forward Ben Smith lifted the puck over Dallas Stars’ goaltender Keri Lehtonen’s right shoulder and the Chicago Blackhawks extended their win streak to five games on the annual circus trip. For a second straight game, the Hawks seemed to not bring their “A” game during the first two periods and waiting until the third period, overtime and the shootout to finally put the Stars away.
Also for a second straight game, the hockey game featured it’s fare share of theatrics as the Hawks were down 1-0 going into the third period and Dallas seemed to have full momentum of the game. Then with 7:22 left in the third period, defenseman Duncan Keith threw a point shot towards the net and forward Patrick Sharp deflected the puck into the net to tie the game a one goal apiece.
The game’s theatrics continued as both teams pressed back-and-forth in the overtime period as each team had ample opportunities to take the second point in the standings. As the overtime horn sounded, the game headed into a shootout.
Going into the shootout, Blackhawks’ goalie faced a penalty shot in the second period as Hawks’ defenseman Brent Seabrook hooked Stars’ forward Alex Chiasson as he was on a breakaway. So going into the shootout period Crawford was prepared and he absolutely needed it.
The Blackhawks and Stars went player after player and both goalies stopped everything that was thrown at them. In the second inning of the shootout, Sharp scored on a nice deke and shot under Lehtonen’s arm. The Stars countered with forward Rich Peverley, who also scored earlier in the game, as he also scored in his chance in the shootout. The shootout kept going until Hawks’ forward Ben Smith stepped up as one of the last possible forwards left and skated fast up the ice and rocketed a wrist shot past Lehtonen to secure the victory for the Hawks.
To note though, one streak continued as another ended Friday night. Patrick Kane’s 12 game point streak ended tonight as he only registered five shots on the evening. But, the Blackhawks continued their winning streak to five and move their record on the “circus” trip to 5-1. Blackhawks’ goaltender recorded his 100th career victory in the NHL and he remains undefeated in penalty shots in his career as well.
With the victory against the Stars, the Blackhawks remain atop the Western Conference standings with 42 points and also lead the whole NHL in points.
The Hawks’ annual “circus” trip continues tomorrow night against the Phoenix Coyotes at Jobbing.com Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Central) and can be seen on Fox Sports-Arizona PLUS and CSN-Chicago.
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