A sloppy game played by both sides with lots of goals and chippy play, ends in a Dallas 7-4 victory. Among all the scoring, Jere Lehtinen extends his scoring streak to 5 games, and the Stars score on the Power Play for the 7th consecutive game. Kirk Muller broke out to score 2 points in the game, and Steve Ott collected his 2nd goal of his career.
Early in the first, both sides were getting good chances and the Stars were really dominating the neutral zone, resulting in some very good odd-man rushes for Dallas. On one attempt to clear the zone, however, Chris Simon intercepted and fought off traffic to fire a shot on goal. It somehow made its way past Ron Tugnutt and the Blackhawks had a 1-0 lead.
The Dallas Power Play got its first chance of the night when Alexei Zhamnov was called for obstruction hooking. Dallas got some good chances but could never really get any traffic in front of the net. Not long after Zhamnov came out of the penalty box, the Stars were moving into the Chicago zone with speed. Kirk Muller made a fantastic drop pass to Steve Ott who fired a wrist shot past Steve Passmore to tie the game at 1.
After the Dallas goal, things slowed down dramatically. Play was very choppy and neither could keep the puck in the offensive zone for very long periods. Because of that, only 10 shots were fired in the period, 7-3 in Dallas' favor.
The chippy play continued in the second, but the Blackhawks were able to take advantage of it. Just 54 seconds into the period, Tyler Arnason fired a shot that was deflected by Mark Bell and past Tugnutt for a 2-1 Chicago lead. Luckily for the Stars, that would be their only goal of the period.
Jere Lehtinen tied the game at 2 when he was handed a great turnaround pass from Niko Kapanen. Jere had a practically empty net to shoot into to score a goal in his 5th consecutive game. Dallas did have to work to keep Chicago from scoring another goal in the second. They were getting good saves from Tugnutt on some tricky shots that were the equivalent of knuckle balls.
The KLM line of Niko Kapanen, Jere Lehtinen and Brenden Morrow was reunited last night and they made very good on it. The trio combined for 2 goals and 4 points in the game. Throughout the second they kept goalie Steve Passmore on his toes.
The Dallas Power Play was able to go to work for the second time in the game when Jason Arnott was high-sticked by Mike Eastwood. About 30 seconds into the Power Play, Mike Modano was handed his 27th goal of the season when Derian Hatcher's shot rebounded and Mike was there to bury the biscuit.
The Stars were put on the Penalty Kill late in the second when Kirk Muller was called for high-sticking while battling in the corner. Just second after he stepped onto the ice, Passmore tried to wrap the puck around the boards but it caromed right to the stick of Muller. He got it and snuck it past the diving Passmore and put it in. The play was later reviewed by the boys upstairs and was determined that Claude Lemieux put the puck in, so Muller gets his 600th career assist.
The third started off horribly for Dallas. Just past the 1 minute mark, Sergei Berezin collected the rebound off a Kyle Calder shot and beat an out of position Ron Tugnutt. Then, just 41 seconds later, Berezin again beats Tugnutt, this time from the left faceoff circle to tie the game at 4.
With the Stars reeling, Chicago tried to take the lead. Nothing resulted and Dallas finally got their footing back. A great play by Pierre Turgeon and Philippe Boucher moving down the ice ended with Boucher scoring his 6th goal of the year on a one-timer. That goal totally deflated the Blackhawks and the Stars were in control from that point on.
Another perfect pass play ends in a goal for Scott Young on a one-timer pass from Ulf Dahlen. It was the 15th goal of the season for Young, and the 15th assist of the season for Dahlen. The final dagger in the Chicago heart occurred when Niko Kapanen was trying to make a centering pass to Jere Lehtinen. His pass was deflected by a Chicago defenseman and into the net to finish the game, 7-4 Dallas.
With this win, the Stars move into first in the race for the President's Trophy and their Magic# to earn a playoff spot is down to 9. Dallas will probably wrap up their playoff spot early next week. The Predators have to play Minnesota, (loss) followed by Dallas (loss), and if the Stars can beat San Jose and Columbus, they win the spot next Tuesday.
Brenden Morrow made a successful return after being absent 9 games due to a chest contusion. He collected an assist and played very well with Niko Kapanen and Jere Lehtinen.
This loss is the 8th straight for the Chicago Blackhawks, but they'll get a chance to win one soon. They're next game is against the Calgary Flames, followed by the Boston Bruins.
The next Dallas game is against the 9th place Nashville Predators, then they'll welcome the San Jose Sharks to the AAC, followed by a little road trip to the north.
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