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Stars hold off Blackhawks after losing three-goal lead

The SportsXchange

CHICAGO - Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville loves to talk about players making the most of their opportunities on-ice.

The visiting Dallas Stars took that philosophy to heart Tuesday. Even though they were outshot by a whopping 50-18 margin by the host Blackhawks, the Stars still managed to rally back for a 4-3 win at the United Center.

After being hooked by Chicago's Niklas Hjalmarsson, Dallas left winger Antoine Roussel's penalty-shot goal at 3:01 of the third period, his fifth tally of the season, proved to be the game-winner, ending a spirited Blackhawks comeback that tied the game after Dallas built a 3-0 lead.

"Our goaltender (Kari Lehtonen) played unbelievable and kept us in the game," Roussel said. "We got some lucky goals, some great bounces. (The Blackhawks) obviously dominated us (but) we'll take the two points."

Roussel's goal broke a 3-3 tie and the Stars (13-9-4) hung on for only their second win in the last six games, while Chicago (20-5-4) saw its six-game winning streak snapped.

"We were very generous on the first three goals against us," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had one of those starts where we were trying to get ourselves into the game. Mentally, I don't think we were as sharp."

Lehtonen was outstanding in the net, knocking aside an onslaught of Blackhawks scoring attempts, as Dallas earned its seventh win in its last eight road games.

"(Lehtonen) was pretty good for them," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We know he's a good goalie and he usually plays good for them. (You) can't expect to win every game when you dig yourself a hole like that and they were able to get ahead again."

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford came into the game as the winningest goalie in the NHL thus far this season, but he couldn't stop Dallas when he needed to.

"We had some timely scoring tonight that got us the lead," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "You have to give them a lot of credit for fighting their way back, but again, I thought a heck of a penalty shot by 'Rous' and we hung in there and were able to get a couple of points out of it."

It was only the fourth loss for Chicago in its last 18 games, as the Blackhawks returned home after a seven-game road trip that saw them go 6-1-0.

Dallas appeared to come into the game with revenge on its mind, having lost in a 2-1 shootout Saturday at home to the visiting Blackhawks.

Chicago also won the first meeting of the season between the two clubs earlier in November, as well.

"(Dallas) cashed in on their chances tonight and we weren't anywhere near their rate of cashing in," Quenneville said.

Dallas managed just five shots on goal in the first period but made the most of their limited efforts, scoring twice, while Chicago was held scoreless despite 16 of its own shots on Lehtonen.

Dallas scored first when right winger Valeri Nichushkin beat Crawford at 13:47. It was Nichushkin's third goal of the season.

Stars right winger Alex Chiasson scored his eighth goal of the season at 18:50 on the power play.

Dallas increased its lead to 3-0 at 3:07 of the second period on left winger Erik Cole's wrist shot.

After outshooting the Stars 24-9 through nearly the entire first half of the game, the Blackhawks finally scored on right winger Patrick Sharp's power-play goal (11th of season) at 9:39. It was Sharp's 50th career power-play tally and his 200th as a Blackhawk.

But Chicago was far from done, adding two more goals in the middle period.

Rookie defenseman Nick Leddy, who is quickly becoming a star in Chicago, nailed his third goal of the season at 16:09 to draw the Blackhawks to within one goal, 3-2.

The Blackhawks tied it up just over a minute later on defenseman Johnny Oduya's third goal of the season, a wicked wrist shot from just inside the blue line at 17:14.

"It certainly wasn't a dud (of a game), it was a dud to start, but we got ourselves back in the game and gave ourselves a chance to at least tie it and then play a third period where anything can happen," Quenneville said. "The fact we didn't get one in the third with those opportunities, it's one of those games where it's not tonight."

Dallas would score the deciding goal on Roussel's penalty shot.

Chicago had a great opportunity to tie the game near the midpoint of the final period with a 5-on-3 advantage, but Lehtonen and the Stars' defense was up to the challenge.

"We worked ourselves back with a heck of a second period," Quenneville said. "Had a decent third period and some great opportunities. They get the equalizer and you miss that 5-on-3. That could've been it there."

NOTES: Even with the loss, the Blackhawks are still off to the second-best start in franchise history. They were 24-2-3 last season after their first 29 games. ... Attendance was 21,411. ... Chicago RW Patrick Kane extended his current streak to 21 points in the last 15 games, while Keith extended his own streak of at least one assist in the last eight games. ... The Blackhawks are now 126-96-31-3 all-time against the Stars (including their prior stint as the Minnesota North Stars). ... Even though he was recalled from Texas of the AHL on Monday, forward Travis Morin was a healthy scratch for Tuesday's game for Dallas. ... Although there had been pre-game speculation that he might play, Dallas C Tyler Seguin remained out with concussion-like symptoms. ... Tuesday began a streak where the Blackhawks play nine of their next 14 games at home. Dallas began a brief two-game road trip Tuesday, but also began a streak that will see them away from the Lone Star State for seven of their next 11 games. ... Tuesday marked Chicago D Michal Rozsival's 800th career NHL game.
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