Stars blow out Blackhawks in brutal 5-1 loss
A bad pass by Nikita Zadorov, a bad penalty by Ryan Carpenter and a bad blowout by Duncan Keith added up to one thing for the Blackhawks on Thursday: A brutal 5-1 loss to the Dallas Stars at the United Center.
The Hawks (18-18-5) are now 4 points behind fourth-place Nashville in the Central Division.
Meanwhile, the bruised and battered Stars just won't go away as they improved to 14-14-10 and remain very much alive in the playoff picture.
This game was tied 1-1 after one period thanks to Dominik Kubalik's second goal in as many games, but Zadorov's ill-advised pass in his own zone started an avalanche of mistakes that led to Dallas' easy victory.
"That's been a bit of a theme with our losses is that we seem to be a little bit fragile," said defenseman Connor Murphy. "Instead of picking each other up after a mistake ... we don't seem to be responding very well.
"That's on us as the leadership group to be able to recognize things and get our team going in the right direction."
The Hawks opened the second period with what should have been 90 seconds of power-play time, but a questionable interference call on Dylan Strome at 0:17 resulted in both teams playing 4-on-4. Roope Hintz snared Zadorov's attempted cross-ice feed to Duncan Keith, then set up Jason Robertson's goal at 1:13. Zadorov doubled down on his error by losing Robertson in front of the net.
"There's gonna be things that go against ya when you're playing a good team," said coach Jeremy Colliton. "They're desperate. And I think we are too. You've got to respond. Just would like to see us handle that adversity better. Stick together."
Carpenter took a delay-of-game penalty 12 minutes later when he sent the puck up over the glass at 13:14. Dallas went up 3-1 less than a minute later when Miro Heiskanen rifled his sixth goal of the season past Kevin Lankinen.
The ugliest moment, though, came when Keith tripped over his own feet while trying to set something up at the point. The future Hall of Famer tried shoving the puck out of harm's way as he tumbled to the ice -- but to no avail.
It went right to Andrew Cogliano, who sprung Blake Comeau on a breakaway. Comeau scored at 15:47 to make it 4-1, then added a second goal 50 seconds into the third period on yet another Keith turnover.
"Obviously frustrating," Kubalik said, "but we've got to let it go, learn from it and be ready because the games (keep) coming. Every single (one) is huge right now."