The Dallas Stars saw their four-game winning streak come to an end on Sunday night as they dropped a 5-4 road overtime decision to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. Dallas held four separate one-goal leads over the course of the game but were unable to build upon or maintain the narrow advantages.
A sharp-angle goal to the short side by former Stars center Brad Richards with 3:57 remaining in the third period forced overtime.
Chicago’s Patrick Sharp won the game at 1:17 of overtime with a goal from point-blank range shortly after Dallas narrowly missed a glorious scoring chance at the other end of the ice.
For Dallas, goals by team captain Jamie Benn, defenseman brother Jordie Benn and a pair of tallies by veteran winger Erik Cole built leads of 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, and 4-2. Kari Lehtonen had an uneven performance in stopping 33 of 38 shots.
Prior to the late-game goal by Richards and the overtime winner by Sharp, Chicago erased three one-goal deficits on tallies by Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell (power play). Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 34 shot. Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson provided a crucial shot block in overtime, sliding to stop what initially looked like a surefire goal after a turnover by the Chicago goalie.
The Stars have struggled mightily to win the second half of back-to-back games in recent seasons. The issue strongly contributed to Dallas narrowly missing the playoffs in each of the final three seasons of the team’s five-year playoff drought than finally ended last season. So far in the 2014-15 campaign, the Stars remain winless in five tries in the second half of b2b sets.
However, even in settling for one point instead of two on Sunday, the Stars are doing a lot of things right of late.
The team has points in nine of the last 10 games (8-1-1) and points in five straight games. For the most part, the club has been playing improved team defense of late and they are also getting the type of secondary scoring support for the top line that was an important facet in getting into the playoffs in 2013-14. As a team, the Stars have scored 17 goals over the past three games alone.
The Stars are idle on Monday. On Tuesday, the club plays host to the Columbus Blue Jackets at the American Airlines Center.