Chicago Blackhawks impose their will and win in Dallas - FOX 32 News Chicago

Blackhawks impose their will and win in Dallas

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

The Blackhawks are not only a perfect 4-0 on the season, they have shown they can succeed in different game settings. In Dallas on Wednesday night, the Hawks trailed the Stars by two goals. Despite facing a very hot goaltender in Kari Lehtonen they battled back to tie the contest and captured the victory in overtime on a picture book play. For now, GM Stan Bowman and head coach Joel Quenneville couldn't have scripted a better start.

In the NHL the best clubs have the ability to impose their will over the opposition. When difficulty is encountered, hard work and consistency enables a quality team to play at a high level. This happens not only when everyone is clicking but on nights when certain players are not at their best.

Versus Dallas, Corey Crawford was a bit "leaky," allowing a goal in the closing second of the opening frame. To be trailing after being scored on in the waning seconds of a period is often difficult to recover from. This is especially so when the Hawks could have been easily winning the contest by a few goals if not for the stellar play of Lehtonen.

Crawford would have surrendered a really weak goal in the last seconds of the second period if not for a great play by Duncan Keith to stop the puck before it went over the goal line. Both shots referred to went through Crawford although the first goal was a much more difficult save attempt.

So Crawford wasn't at his best, but he won't be every game. What Crawford did manage is to not fall apart. He played well enough to stop a penalty shot and to be the better goalkeeper in the late going. In essence, Crawford gave the Blackhawks a chance to win.

On a night when Brent Seabrook looked a step slow, Mikal Rozisval made an awful giveaway and some players looked a bit fatigued but the Hawks still skated away with two points. Winning counts the same no matter what, but to come away with a victory while not firing all cylinders is very impressive.

The Blackhawks came at the Stars in waves. One would have thought the pace of play was just what the doctored ordered for Chicago. Lehtonen was the great equalizer for much of the contest and the Hawks made a few mistakes and lost enough puck battles to make for an uphill battle.

When a club sticks to their plan eventually their skill and ability to be effective will shine through. The Stars might have been too comfortable in thinking a two goal lead was enough to beat the Blackhawks. For two periods, the Stars went up and down the ice with the Hawks and still managed to stay ahead. In the end the club that was more comfortable with the pace, had more depth and talent ended up on top.

The Blackhawks did benefit by some soft penalty calls against Dallas as they scored three power play goals. The interference penalty called in overtime by Brenden Morrow was dumb, that was all on him and the referee had no choice. That mistake set the stage for the talent level of the Hawks to shine through.

Patrick Kane made a no-look behind the back pass to Marian Hossa who beat Lehtonen. Kane has started the season in fine fashion as has Hossa. The Hawks main players have been a big part of every win. Thursday night Kane showed why he is probably the best passer/playmaker in the NHL today.

There is no substitute for determination and when it is combined with talent good things happen. Blackhawk fans are witnessing the same.

Al's Shots

Keith played his most minutes of the season (26:21). That was partially due to many power play minutes and the fact the game went into OT. Keith played his best game of the year, Seabrook his worst.

It was another strong outing for Niklas Hjalmarsson and Nick Leddy.

When a team keeps winning, younger players get a better chance to prove themselves.

Rookie Brandon Saad puts forth a lot of it effort each game but he does appear to be pressing. Most likely Saad figures he needs to score to prove his worth. It is hard for a young player not to press, but Saad is thinking shot first too often. Maybe once Saad records a goal he will look to pass and not appear so anxious to shoot.

Another young player who appears to be struggling, this time due to playing a different position is Andrew Shaw. Playing an east/west game doesn't seem to suit Shaw so far, and at center that is needed at times. Shaw was better on the wing playing a north/south crash and bang game. He was able to find soft spots and scored a few goals that way.

The Hawks may stick with Shaw for awhile more, maybe he will grow into the role. If not Marcus Kruger could move up from the fourth line. Kruger has been playing well and is effective in killing penalties as well.

Quietly Michael Frolik is doing his part to help the cause. He played a nice game Thursday night and is also doing a good job of killing penalties.

Leddy showed Thursday night why he is probably the best skater on the team. That's right, and I didn't forget about Keith and Viktor Stalberg. If Leddy can gain more confidence and continue to rush the puck he should have a great year.

Enjoy the wins and hold on tight.

This season, more than in others, sustaining key injuries will takes its toll. Already some clubs, the Flyers and Maple Leafs for example, have suffered big injuries (4-6 week recoveries) to key players.

Good luck is always welcomed but maybe Blackhawk fans should wish for no bad luck.

For now all is well as the Hawks will take on the Blue Jackets in Columbus on Saturday night.

I will be back Sunday morning to share some thoughts.

Follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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