The Dallas Stars found a way to earn a much-needed 6-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday night at the United Center. While the game was FAR from perfect and turned into a wild back-and-forth contest, Dallas will shrug it off and take the two points home to Big D.
Pavelski & Sons Are Back to Their Old Tricks
Despite still carrying nearly 50% of the Stars offense, the top line of Joe Pavelski, Jason Robertson, and Roope Hintz has been a bit quiet over the last few weeks. That ended tonight as all three players cashed in and the line combined for four goals and three assists in the game.
“I think we kept it pretty consistent, ” Robertson said. “We didn’t sit back or get in that passive game, I think we were aggressive throughout all three periods.”
First, it was Pavelski on the power play, followed by a slick shot from the slot from Hintz to give the Stars a lead again, and eventually back-to-back even-strength tallies from Robertson. It was Robertson’s first multi-goal game since his consecutive hat tricks in early March and he came within inches of netting a third.
“Getting on the forecheck, winning battles, guys getting in front of the net and making plays, ” Robertson added. “We got really good forechecks, got some turnovers from them, and capitalized.”
Stars’ Power Play Finally Strikes (Twice)
The Stars’ power play has been the hottest topic of discussion as of late, and not in a good way. Heading into the game going 2 for their last 28 attempts, Dallas desperately needed a breakthrough. Although they scored a power-play goal on Saturday against New Jersey, Rick Bowness still stated that the unit did not look good. On Sunday in Chicago, they looked much more cohesive and tallied two goals, going 2-3 overall in the game. Jamie Benn got things rolling when he cashed in with only one second remaining on their first attempt and Pavelski tipped in a Tyler Seguin shot to bring them to 2-2 and add some huge confidence for that group moving forward.
“Well, the power play was good,” Bowness smiled. The power play was 2-2, so who we put outworked.”
Jamie Benn Continues Strong Play Since All-Star Break
It may be surprising to hear but behind the top trio for Dallas, Jamie Benn has tallied the most points for Dallas since the All-Star break. Since early February, Benn has recorded 25 points, including one goal and one assist against the Hawks on Sunday. The captain craves playoff hockey and continues to give everything he has both on and off the ice to give his team the best chance of a playoff push. Expect him to be a big part of the final 10 games of the season.
His late assist to Seguin also boosted him above Sergei Zubov and into third for most assists in franchise history (439). He now trails only Mike Modano and Neal Broten in that category.
The victory gave Dallas a bit of breathing room in the tightly contested Western Conference playoff race. They now sit two points ahead of the Vegas Golden Knights for that final spot with one game in hand. They also gained one point on the Nashville Predators, who lost in overtime today, and now are just one point out of the top wild card.
He Said It
After last night, the game was very disappointing, I was very proud of the guys the way they responded,” Bowness said. “We came out ready to go. It was a really good effort by everybody. We had to play four lines for as much of the game as we could because of the schedule. But everyone is going through it right now around the league, playing four in six nights. There are going to be nights where you are off but you’ve got to recover quickly, you can’t lose two in a row. So that’s a great effort tonight.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- Third Star: Jamie Benn, DAL (1 goal, 1 assist)
- Second Star: Jason Robertson, DAL (2 goals, plus-3)
- First Star: Roope Hintz, DAL (1 goal, 2 assists plus-3)
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!