DALLAS -- Dallas Stars coach Lindy Ruff has said during the season that he needs No. 1 goaltender Kari Lehtonen to be a difference-maker.
Lehtonen rose to the occasion against the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center on Saturday, making 33 saves for his fifth shutout of the season and leading Dallas to a 4-0 victory.
"[My confidence level is] pretty good," Lehtonen said. "It was a good game against a great team. It was fun out there for me and for everybody."
"I thought we came out with a lot of energy," Ruff said. "We took a couple of tough penalties, but got two real good kills. After that, I thought we played the way we needed to play, maybe a little loose at the end of the second, where we were trying to score a little bit too much and traded some rushes, but after that I thought real solid game."
Lehtonen's biggest save in his 32nd career shutout came when he stopped Brandon Saad on a penalty shot 7:23 into the third period. Saad was awarded the penalty shot when Jordie Benn tripped him on a breakaway. Saad tried to slip a backhand past Lehtonen at the near post, but Lehtonen made a pad save.
Lehtonen also stopped a second-period breakaway by Chicago's Marian Hossa.
"I anticipated him to get a breakaway," Lehtonen said of Hossa. "I played with him a while back. I know how fast he is. I was extra-ready. It was a quick shot. That's what he likes to do, and it was nice to get that fast. That was a great time of the game."
The loss ended a four-game winning streak for the Blackhawks (43-22-6), who are in third place in the Central Division.
"They wanted it," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Dallas. "It's just one of those games where you can say not one line you liked. Didn't like the way the D played. [Crawford] gave us a chance, but other than that it was one of those games, not very good."
The Stars, who finished 2-for-3 on the power play against the NHL's second-ranked penalty-killing unit, led 2-0 after 20 minutes on goals by Eaves and Seguin.
Dallas put Chicago on the power play twice early in the game, but the Stars' penalty kill snuffed out both opportunities to provide some momentum.
"We had a power play early to get a goal on the road. Things could have played out differently had we scored early, but there wasn't much happening tonight," Quenneville said.
Because the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Washington Capitals 3-0 earlier Saturday, Dallas remains eight points behind Winnipeg for the final wild card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference. The Stars and Jets each have 10 games remaining.
"We put ourselves in a tough spot," Ruff said. "That chase is going to be agonizing. We've just got to take care of our own end. We can't do anything about Winnipeg winning. Our responsibility is to just take it a game at a time, and be ready to win games."
Eaves opened the scoring with his ninth of the season 9:36 into the first period, beating Crawford top shelf on his blocker side. Goligoski earned the primary assist by making a perfect pass from the right point, and Eaves quickly snapped the puck into the upper left corner.
"I really liked his game," Ruff said of Eaves. "He made a real good play on Spezza's goal and had a great shot. That's what I was hoping for. It was great to see. I thought he had a real good game for us."
Dallas doubled its lead at 16:02 when Seguin scored his 33rd goal of the season, knocking in a power-play rebound. With Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson in the penalty box for hooking, Crawford made a pad save on Jamie Benn's wrist shot from the slot, but the rebound fell to Seguin at the far post and he beat Crawford with a slap shot.
"That was like playoff-type of tempo on the ice," Hossa said. "I think in the beginning, they were much quicker to pucks than us. In the second, we had some good opportunities. We just couldn't score the goal. Obviously, when you're not scoring, they score on a power-play goal and that was the game."
Horcoff scored his 11th of the season 6:02 into the third period when he redirected Goligoski's wrist shot from the right point over Crawford's right pad for a power-play goal, again with Hjalmarsson in the penalty box. Spezza completed the scoring at 9:32 when he scored his first career goal against Chicago, a wrist shot from the slot that went under the glove of Crawford, who made 25 saves.
"Tonight I thought we got outworked," Quenneville said. "Our power play wasn't very good and the penalty-killing wasn't very good and the team game wasn't very good. They deserved to win. I thought they were the better team."
Chicago continues its four-game road trip Monday at the Carolina Hurricanes, and the Blackhawks aren't panicking after this defeat.
"I don't think we've had too many of these games this year," Hjalmarsson said. "You have at least four or five games like that in an 82-game season. That was just one of those and just got to move on."
Dallas is 2-1-0 on its four-game homestand, which concludes Monday against the Buffalo Sabres.
"It was a good win," Goligoski said. "We've struggled at home. That's no secret. Things have been a lot better lately and we've played the way we should."