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Blackhawks' Smith scores winner in his first shootout

The SportsXchange

DALLAS -- Considering he had never been in a shootout before Friday, Chicago Blackhawks right winger Ben Smith handled his first time with the poise of a veteran.

Smith, Chicago's 11th shooter, sent the Blackhawks to a fifth straight victory by beating Dallas Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen with a wrister to his glove side that gave Chicago a 2-1 shootout win at American Airlines Center.

"It was fun. A great opportunity. It was awesome," Smith said. "I just knew I was going to try and keep it simple, shoot the puck, and I was fortunate that it went in."

Lehtonen had stopped the previous eight attempts and Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford turned back 10 of Dallas' 11 shootout attempts. Crawford stopped 28 of 29 shots.

"It was a heck of a game. The pace was incredible," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we hung in there well. (Crawford) was rock solid, great in the shootout as well. Pretty remarkable we've had three games out of the last four down 1-0 in the third and we find a way to win."

Dallas took the lead late in the first period when center Rich Peverley scored his fifth goal of the season 3:20 before the first intermission. Peverley's shot into an open net was set up after Crawford left the net to make a play on the puck to the right of his goal.

However, Dallas center Shawn Horcoff got the better of Crawford, gaining possession before spotting Peverley open in the high slot and finding him with a backhand pass. Peverley then delivered a wrister that landed in the left side of the Chicago net.

Crawford had dashed back to the crease to deny Peverley's shot, but his efforts were in vain. Crawford then smashed his stick on the ice in disgust over his miscue leading to the game's first goal.

The Stars had a great chance to double their lead 2:39 into the second period when rookie right winger Alex Chiasson was hooked by Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, resulting in a penalty shot. However, Chiasson's low wrister rang off the left post, making Crawford 9-for-9 in his career on penalty shots.

"We work on it sometimes in practice," Crawford said. "I was just trying to come up with a save and keep our team in it."

At 12:34 of the second period as Dallas was killing off the game's first power play, Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas suffered an apparent knee injury and left the ice on a stretcher. Robidas, currently Dallas' longest-tenured player, was attempting to block a shot or pass by Chicago center Jonathan Toews when he slid into the end boards and immediately pointed to his right knee.

Robidas was transported to a local hospital with a leg fracture.

"It didn't look good," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of Robidas' injury. "He's been playing real well. They (him and Brenden Dillon) have been a big pair for us. That was probably one of the only real big negatives. Robi is a battler and he's really played hard and played well this year for us."

Chicago tied it at 7:21 of the third period when center Patrick Sharp tipped in a pass from defenseman Duncan Keith.

Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski attempted to clear the puck from the left corner. However, Keith gained possession, sending the puck toward the Dallas net before being tipped in by Sharp for his 10th of the season.

Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane was attempting to set a career high with a point in 12 straight games. However, Kane was kept off the stat sheet, ending his point streak at 11.

Dallas had a chance to end it with two seconds remaining in overtime, but Crawford denied a 62-foot wrister by Goligoski and the attempt by Chiasson on the rebound went wide.

Lehtonen stopped 25 of the 26 shots he faced.

NOTES: Scratches for the Blackhawks were LW Bryan Bickell and D Michael Rozsival. ... D Kevin Connauton, C Dustin Jeffrey and D Aaron Rome were the scratches for Dallas. ... Chicago RW Kris Versteeg made his second appearance of the season in Dallas with his second different team. Versteeg was with Florida when the Panthers opened the season in Dallas on Oct. 3 before he was traded to Chicago on Nov. 14. Versteeg spent his first three seasons with the Blackhawks and was part of their Stanley Cup-winning team in 2010. ... The penalty shot awarded to Dallas RW Alex Chiasson in the second period was the third for the Stars this season. Dallas is now 1-for-3 on those attempts, the lone goal scored by Vernon Fiddler on Nov. 5 at Boston. ... Neither team went on the power play until 11:31 of the second period when Dallas C Rich Peverley was whistled for tripping.
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