CHICAGO – After a second period in which they were severely outshot by a Chicago team that came in having won four straight, the Stars refocused and rededicated themselves to manufacturing some offense with hard work to help ignite a stirring comeback.
Down by a goal after 40 minutes against the surging Blackhawks, who are one of the best teams in the league on home ice, the Stars came out swarming in the third period and scored three times to rally for a 3-1 win Thursday night at the United Center.
Steve Ott, Michael Ryder, and Loui Eriksson all scored in the third for the Stars (31-26-4), who built off their shutout win at Montreal Tuesday by handing the Blackhawks only their second loss in their last nine games at home.
Ryder also added an assist, Mike Ribeiro added a couple of helpers, and Richard Bachman finished with 26 saves to earn his first win between the pipes since January 7 against the Edmonton Oilers.
Playing their fourth game without Jamie Benn, who continues to be sidelined with a leg injury, the Stars scored their three goals during a 7-minute span in the final stanza to pick up their second straight win and move into a tie for eighth place in the Western Conference with both Los Angeles and Calgary with 66 points.
“We didn’t have many shots going into the third, but we knew we were still in the game,” Ryder said. “We just had to make sure we got more pucks to the net, and stepped our game up. We knew we had to play a hard 20, and we did that. We want to get on a little run and a little roll.”
The Blackhawks played without injured captain Jonathan Toews for the second straight game, and looked in complete control after two periods even though they were clinging to just a 1-0 lead. Chicago had outshot the Stars by a whopping 16-5 margin in the second period, and scored its lone goal of the game when Marian Hossa popped in his 24th of the season at 9:32 of the middle frame.
But Bachman, making his first start since February 2 in San Jose, kept the Stars in it so they could win for just the third time this year when trailing after 40 minutes. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, lost for the first time in regulation this season when leading after two periods (23-1-2).
“We were lucky to get out of the second,” coach Glen Gulutzan said. “Our leadership group took a stand in between the second and third, and we got going. I didn’t do anything between periods. Our leadership group pushed forward and got the job done.”
Ott started the blitz and got the equalizer midway through the third with his 10th. From the right point, Trevor Daley drifted slightly towards the middle of the ice before wristing a shot at the net. Standing in the slot, Ott was able to deflect the puck in.
Ryder followed and gave the Stars a 2-1 edge with 5:02 remaining in regulation when he also deftly deflected a wrist shot along the right boards by Ribeiro for his team-leading 24th goal, and Eriksson iced it with his 19th when he batted down Ryder’s shot in mid-air right underneath the crossbar.
“It was there,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was right in our hands, and we let it get away. Everything was going in a real good way, and then we had a third period that you wonder where that came from.”
Eriksson’s goal was confirmed after a brief video review, sending many of the sellout crowd scurrying towards the exits.
“We got a big goal by Otter there in front, and that’s what we needed,” Eriksson said. “It was two big points for us. The third period we played really good, and we have to keep building here”
Corey Crawford finished with 22 saves for Chicago (33-22-7), which dropped to 21-7-4 at home.
“It was nice to get back into a game and see a little bit of action,” Bachman said. “Being on the road and getting two big wins in exciting arenas to play in, going home with those definitely gives you momentum.”
After a scoreless first period, both teams seemed poised to garner the first goal early in the second, but thanks to the goal posts and Bachman the zeros stayed on the scoreboard. Ryan Garbutt first rang a shot off the post just three minutes into the middle frame with a wicked wrist shot from the left circle before Bachman absolutely robbed Chicago’s Jimmy Hayes.
Hayes was staring at a gaping net after a shot from the point ricocheted to him in the left circle, but Bachman dove to his right to snag Hayes’ shot.
Hossa then broke through to stake Chicago to a 1-0 lead midway through the second. Swooping into the slot, he whipped home a loose puck.
Hossa nearly doubled the Blackhawks’ lead with under four seconds to go in the middle frame, but his snap shot from the slot went off the post after Bachman got a piece of it.
In the first period, Adam Burish had a chance to put Dallas on the board first when he went in alone on Crawford while the Stars were on the penalty kill. But Crawford was able to deny Burish’s backhand deke attempt.
The Stars kick-off a three-game homestand Friday night when they play Minnesota at American Airlines Center (7:30 p.m., FSSW) before hosting Vancouver on Sunday. The Stars continue to be winless in the second leg of back-to-back games this season (0-9-2).
“We’re all looking for that run at this time of the year, but the reality is it’s pretty tough,” Gulutzan said. “But picking up two points, especially in a building like this, is good. Now we have to win at home.”
-- Defenseman Sheldon Souray returned after missing the past seven games because of a foot injury, and Burish also played after sitting out Tuesday’s win at Montreal because of an illness. Matt Fraser and Adam Pardy were scratched.
-- It’s the first time Dallas has strung together two consecutive wins since beating Anaheim twice in a row in games that bridged the All-Star break.
-- Ryder has three goals in his last four games, and six tallies in his last 10 contests.
-- Ribeiro extended his points streak to five games (2-5-7).
-- It was the first meeting between the two teams since they began the season in October with back-to-back encounters. The two clubs will wrap up their season series on March 16 at American Airlines Center.
-- Dallas moved to within one win of earning the franchise’s 1,500th all-time victory.
-- There was only one penalty in the entire game, with Ryder going off for tripping just three minutes into the first period. The Stars were able to erase that power-play opportunity for Chicago.
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