It was a mixed bag for the Dallas Stars Thursday night. The good news – the team agreed to terms with restricted free agent Jamie Benn on a five-year, $26.25 million dollar contract. The bad news – they couldn’t hold a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2 in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center.
Marian Hossa scored on the power play with 3:31 left in overtime to complete the comeback for the Blackhawks, who improved to 4-0-0 on the season. The Stars are now 2-1-1.
Loui Eriksson and Ray Whitney scored for the Stars. Kari Lehtonen stopped 38 of 41 shots.
Lehtonen superb again
Kari Lehtonen came up big in the first period for the Stars, stopping all 12 shots he faced. He was tested early, denying great scoring chances by Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith in the first 30 seconds of the game, and then made another slick stop on Toews later in the period.
In the second period, Lehtonen made stops on Brandon Saad off the rush and then denied a rebound attempt from Toews. He made a sharp glove save on a one-timer by Patrick Kane just past the midway point of the second.
The Blackhawks finally scored on their 28th shot of the game and while on their fourth power play. Patrick Sharp’s pass from the left circle hit Stars defenseman Trevor Daley’s stick and slipped past Lehtonen at 15:57 of the second to cut the Stars’ lead to 2-1.
Chicago struck again on the power play in the third to tie. Toews scored on a shot from left circle on Chicago’s 38th shot of the night and the Blackhawks on their sixth power play.
Hossa’s game winner came on shot number 41 for Chicago and on their seventh power play of the night. He scored off a blast from the right circle with Chicago on a four-on-three advanate.
Special teams watch
Chicago was 3-7 on the power play in the game. The Stars had two power play chances, one penalty shot and were unable to score on the chances.
The Stars are 14-19 (73.7%) on the penalty kill this season. They are 2-12 (16.7%) on the power play over the first four games.
Eriksson strikes shorthanded
The Stars did get one special teams goal in the game. That came with Chicago on its second power play of the game. Derek Roy set up Loui Eriksson, who fought off Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, broke in on net and popped the puck past Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford with 1.4 seconds left to put the Stars up 1-0.
Second line produces again
The Stars’ second line, which produced both goals in Detroit on Tuesday, tallied again Thursday. Cody Eakin won a puck battle along the left boards and chipped the puck to Ray Whitney, who scored from close range at 10:41 of the second period to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.
Penalty shot for Garbutt
Stars forward Ryan Garbutt got the Stars’ first penalty shot of the season at the 3:33 mark of the second period, but his backhand bid was denied by Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford. It was the first penalty shot of Garbutt’s NHL career.
Benn deal met with loud cheer
The Stars announced the signing of center Jamie Benn during the second period of Thursday night’s game, and the news – as you would expect – was met with met with a rousing cheer from Stars fans at the American Airlines Center.
On a side note, attendance at Thursday’s game was 17,868.
The Stars play the St. Louis Blues Saturday at American Airlines Center.