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Blackhawks erase three-goal deficit, but edged by Stars

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Updated: December 3, 2013 11:05PM

Everybody was talking about a trap game. For the Blackhawks, it was more like half a trap. But it wasn’t better than none.

The theory: With the Hawks coming home after a terrific 6-1 performance on their annual circus trip—the possibility of a letdown loomed large. It’s only human nature to exhale after piling up all those road wins.

The reality: Give a big assist to Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 47 shots. But know that the Hawks’ six-game winning streak is over. The Stars took care of that, beating the defending Stanley Cup champions 4-3 before 21,411 at the United Center.

``It’s nice to be home from that long road trip,’’ defenseman Duncan Keith said. ``But sometimes there’s a letdown. We can’t let that happen. We were guilty of that tonight. We got our energy going in the second. But for whatever reason, it wasn’t our best game.’’

The sub-par start was critical. Down 3-0, the Hawks erupted for three goals in the final 10 minutes of the second period to tie the game 3-3 heading into the final 20 minutes.

``It certainly wasn’t a dud,’’ said coach Joel Quenneville, dismissing part of the letdown theory. ``It was a dud at the start, but I thought we got ourselves in the game and we gave ourselves a chance to at least tie it and play the third period, where anything can happen. The fact that we didn’t get one in the thrird period with the opportunities we had--it was just one of those games. Not tonight.’’

Antoine Roussel gave the Stars their 4-3 advantage on a penalty shot at 3:01 of the third after being hooked on a breakaway by Niklas Hjalmarsson. The goal was the first Corey Crawford has given up on a penalty shot. He was 10 for 10, including 4 for 4 this year.

From there, the Hawks applied plenty of pressure. But Lehtonen did not yield.

``He really stood on his head tonight,’’ Kris Versteeg said. ``He played really good. But we should be happy with how we played, especially in the second and third. I kept looking up there, and there were more and more shots, and there were good scoring opportunities, too. We had looks from everywhere. He’s a good goalie. You have to give him credit. He hangs in there. Tonight, Kari really came to play.’’

Patrick Sharp started the rally with a power-play slapshot from above the right circle at 9:39. It was his 200th goal as a Blackhawk.

``It’s a special goal,’’ Sharp said. ``Hopefully, there’s a lot more to come. I wasn’t really thinking about it out there. It was a pretty intense game. I was trying to get a couple more.’’

Nick Leddy made it 3-2 with a quick little shot from below the right circle that found the five-hole at 16:09 after some good puck movement.

Just 65 seconds later, Johnny Oduya tied the game 3-3 with a shot from the left point at 17:14 on an assist from Patrick Kane.

Hawks captain Jonathan Toews is familiar with the tendency of teams to not play well at home after a long road trip.

``It’s just a matter of keeping this thing going without changing our style,’’ Toews said. ``We’ve been winning games all sorts of ways lately. We need to be smart, play disciplined. We have to remind ourselves that we’ll get our offense. But if we have to win a tight game, that’s what we’ll do.’’


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