10 observations: Blackhawks squander third-period lead in loss to Stars

10 observations: Blackhawks squander third-period lead in loss to Stars originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Presented by Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich

The Chicago Blackhawks fell to the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Saturday at the United Center after squandering a third-period lead.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. For the fifth straight game, the Blackhawks played a respectable hockey game. This was obviously a much better effort than their last game against Dallas, which was an 8-1 embarrassment. The Blackhawks nearly tied it up with the extra attacker on but Rem Pitlick couldn’t bury home the pass. So close.

2. The Blackhawks spent the first 40 minutes of practice on Friday working on the power play. It didn’t translate to much success. They had a four-minute man advantage in the first period and it was pretty ugly.

3. All four lines were rolling for the Blackhawks. They outchanced the Stars 20-5 in the second period at even strength, per Natural Stat Trick, and registered 36 shots on goal, which tied a season-high

4. Petr Mrazek stopped the first 18 shots he faced before Matt Duchene‘s shot squirted by him on the power play in the third period, although it looked like he was screened. He was upset with himself on the second goal, too, which slipped five-hole. He was a wall for the first two periods.

5. Seth Jones made his return after missing the last 15 games with a shoulder injury (SC joint, to be exact). You don’t realize how valuable he is to the back end until he’s not available. The Blackhawks had a hard time replacing his 25+ minutes per night, but he’s officially healthy. Decent first game back.

6. The Connor Murphy and Jaycob Megna pairing was excellent. They barely gave up anything when they were on the ice together. Same with the top line of Philipp Kurashev, Rem Pitlick and Taylor Raddysh, who was robbed of a goal by Ryan Suter in the second period.

7. The Blackhawks won their first five draws of the game. They struggled the rest of the night against an elite Stars team in the faceoff department.

8. Jarred Tinordi was squeezed out of the lineup with the return of Jones. Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said before the game that “it’s disappointing for us because we really like to have him in there to give us that physical presence.” I think it hurts Richardson to scratch Tinordi because they are cut from the same cloth and Richardson played a similar style as a player. Tinordi didn’t have a great two games in Dallas on the road trip, so maybe this wasn’t the worst idea.

9. Nick Foligno and the Blackhawks agreed on a two-year contract extension at a cap hit of $4.5 million. It was a no-brainer from Chicago’s point of view, but Foligno wanted it just as much: “It lets me know that my voice and my impact will hopefully be around for long enough that it can really sustain and dig in and grab hold here. That’s what I get excited about.”

10. Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson spoke to the media during the first intermission for a midseason check-in. He addressed a variety of topics, which included Connor Bedard, the decision to re-sign Foligno, the trade deadline, and much more. The full story will be soon. Be on the lookout for it.

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