It went beyond being not pretty at American Airlines Center Saturday night. It was ugly for the Dallas Stars, who were routed 8-1 by the Chicago Blackhawks.
“These guys gave us a wake-up call tonight,” said Stars forward Jamie Benn.
Chicago, the NHL’s top team, led 3-0 after one period and was up 6-0 after two. The Blackhawks held the Stars to just eight shots over the first 40 minutes of the game and ended up with a 34-19 shots advantage for the game. The eight goals against were the most the Stars had given up since March 1996, when Winnipeg beat the Stars 8-2.
“We certainly got humbled,” added Stars captain Brenden Morrow.
The loss pushed the Stars’ winless streak to four games (0-3-1) and left them at .500 (12-12-3) with 21 games left in their season. The Stars have been outscored 16-3 during the four-game slide.
“If this wasn’t an alarm clock, I don’t know what is,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.
The Stars held their own through the first part of the first period, but Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored two goals in a 1:35 span to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. A Nick Leddy rebound goal off the rush late in the period made it 3-0 and the rout was on.
“We’ve been concerned with our starts here for a while, but we usually battle back. Tonight it started bad and got worse,” said Morrow.
A Johnny Oduya goal eight minutes into the second period and Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen was done for the night. He allowed four goals on 17 shots. He was replaced by Richard Bachman, who allowed four goals on 17 shots the rest of the way. Neither Dallas goaltender stood much chance on this night.
“We dumped on our first goalie and we dumped on our second goalie. We left them to hang out to dry and it’s unacceptable,” said Benn. “We need to do something within this room to change that. It’s an unacceptable effort tonight.”
Marian Hossa scored twice in the second to push Chicago’s lead to 6-0 after two periods. Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane scored in the third for Chicago and Trevor Daley scored on the power play for the Stars.
The Stars fell to 0-2-1 on their current homestand, during which they have been outscored 14-2. Their 5-6-2 home record is the worst in the Western Conference.
“We had a pretty good effort against Anaheim (Thursday night) but tonight was pretty lousy from start to finish,” said Morrow. “So this was deflating for us. We’ve got some work to do.”
For the Blackhawks, it was an impressive performance as they ran their league-best record to 23-2-3.
“I think it was everything, great defense, but for the most part, we had the puck the whole game,” said Kane. “When you have the puck, you’re not going to give up many shots and the ones we did give up, they were either from their point men or way on the outside. Crow (goaltender Corey Crawford) did a good job staying in there, but defense played great and we did a great job holding onto the puck.”
*The Stars have scored three goals over the last four games.
*Every Dallas player had a minus-rating in Saturday’s game except for center Derek Roy, who was even.
*The Stars were 1-2 on the power play and 4-6 on the penalty kill.
*Ryan Garbutt (hand) and Aaron Rome (foot) were out for the Stars.
*Tomas Vincour and Philip Larsen were healthy scratches.
*Attendance was 18,584, a sellout.