Vets score for Blackhawks, but not enough to avoid fourth straight loss

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Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews celebrates his goal against the Dallas Stars during the first period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/David Banks)

by Scott King
@ScottKingMedia

The Blackhawks sat seven points out of a playoff spot after dropping their last three straight games. Thursday night they had a chance to improve their place in the standings vs. the visiting Dallas Stars, who had possession of the number one Wild Card spot, 10 points ahead of the Hawks.

Prior to Patrick Kane’s goal with five seconds left in regulation on Tuesday night against the Calgary Flames, the last fourteen Blackhawks goals came from players age 23 or younger. The Stat is a telling one, as all season long the team has needed the vets with multiple cups, minus Kane, to rally around the youngsters, not vice versa.

That trend was about to change.

Jonathan Toews scored the first goal of the game around the midway point of the first period. He shook an eleven-game goalless streak going back to January 9  with the tally.

Tyler Seguin scored at 5:44 in the second period on an odd-man rush after Anthony Duclair turned over the puck in the offensive zone.

Stephen Johns shot a puck from the blue line 59 seconds later that found its way past Hawks goalie Anton Forsberg and into the net to make it 2-1 Stars.

Artem Anisimov put in a Brent Seabrook rebound on the power play to bring the Hawks to a 2-2 tie with the Stars.

Tyler Pitlick scored with 4.5 seconds left in the second period to give Dallas a 3-2 lead.

Seguin scored again on an empty-net goal late in third period to extend the Stars’ lead to 4-2. The Stars swept the Blackhawks in their four game series this season.

Forsberg made 26 saves on 29 shots in the loss. Ben Bishop saved 36 of 38 for the Stars.

Thursday night was the Hawks’ fourth straight loss. “I think we can all be better doing the little things, simple things,” Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “And that’s where it’s got to start.”

Seabrook knows the Hawks are up against the clock in a rough Wild Card race.

“Yeah, it’s tough. I think as time goes along here, we have to start getting some wins. The thing is we’re trying to keep up in the West and we just keep digging ourselves in a bigger whole, I think, who knows… We get a win, we start rolling, that’s our mindset now. We have to come prepared for Minny and try to get a win.”

Head coach Joel Quenneville thinks the reason the Hawks are in such a deep hole is the failure to generate quality scoring chances.

“We still have a lot of better looks that don’t sometimes materialize,” Quenneville said. “The quality of whats going to transpire either after the shot, or where the puck [is] going to be and then keep them on the run.

“Our shot selection needs to be better, where we shoot it and how we shoot it. You get a lot of shot attempts at the end of the day, but you don’t get the quality that should be there with that quantity.”

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