DALLAS---The Chicago Blackhawks scored early and often, blitzing the Dallas Stars 8-1 before a sellout crowd of 18,584 at American Airlines Center.
Five Blackhawks had three-point games, a group headlined by Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
"We got some pucks at the end and got some nice bounces off our stick to get us the lead," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had all areas of our game with us, puck possession, playing a sound game system-wise. Everybody contributed."
Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan, clearly disgusted by his team's performance, kept his postgame remarks to the press brief. "Well, if this isn't an alarm clock I don't know what is," he said.
Toews gave Chicago the lead at 9:05 of the opening period when he deflected a Nick Leddy shot from the left faceoff circle in for his 12th of the season. After Leddy received a pass from Brandon Saad, the Blackhawks defenseman saw his shot redirected by Toews, who was inside the Dallas crease to give the visitors the lead.
But Toews wasn't done. Just 1:35 later, he scored in similar fashion, this time knocking in a deflection off Saad at 10:40 to make it 2-0. After Toews had won a draw with Dallas' Antoine Roussel in the right circle, Marian Hossa slipped the puck to Duncan Keith, who quickly passed it across the ice to Duncan Keith. His shot deflected off Saad before landing near the far post, where Toews pounced for an easy tap-in.
"It was nice to get on the board in the first period," Toews said. "It's just nice to get our team going tonight. The last couple of games were some good road games, so we want to keep that going."
Leddy then knocked in a rebound with 2:06 left before the first intermission to make it 3-0. Viktor Stalberg tried to beat Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen after skating in from the left side but Lehtonen made a pad save. However, Lehtonen didn't cover the rebound and Leddy skated in for his third goal of the season.
After one period, Chicago had an 11-3 edge in shots on goal.
Slow starts have been an issue for Dallas in a number of games this year. However, in many of those contests, the Stars battled back. But those starts finally caught up with them tonight.
"Yeah, we've been concerned by our starts here for a while, but we usually battled back," Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. "Tonight we started bad and got worse. Certainly got humbled, we knew they were a good team coming in. We'd like to think we were prepared for it and expected it. Obviously we weren't."
Chicago wasted little time in the second period adding to their advantage, when Johnny Oduya knocked a 60-foot slapper past Lehtonen at 8:01 to make it 4-0. Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan pulled Lehtonen in favor of backup Richard Bachman after Oduya's tally. Lehtonen left having stopped 13 of the 17 shots he faced and as he headed to the locker room, the Stars netminder threw his stick in disgust.
Hossa netted the next two for the Blackhawks, giving the visitors a 6-0 edge after 40 minutes of play. His first goal came at 12:18 when Kane fed him beautifully and Hossa tapped it in from in front of the Dallas goal. Hossa's second tally of the period came with 51 seconds left before the second intermission, when he beat Bachman with a 33-foot snap from the right faceoff circle, going top shelf to make it 6-0.
Keith then added his name to the list of Chicago goal scorers, making it 7-0 just 2:06 into the final period. The Chicago defenseman scored off a rebound after teammate Bryan Bickell had two consecutive shots careen off the right post.
Dallas finally broke through at 6:30 when Trevor Daley netted his second of the year, blasting a 46-foot slapshot from just outside the right faceoff circle to ruin the shutout for Chicago.
However, Kane saved his best effort for last, spinning around Dallas defenseman Trevor Dillon in the right faceoff circle and flipping a backhand into the right side of the Dallas net with 10:01 remaining to punctuate the evening's scoring at 8-1.
"I knew the score was kind of up there a little bit, so I thought I'd have a little fun with it," Kane said of his highlight-reel goal. "I guess it would have been a little nicer if the goal was a big goal."
Bachman stopped 13 of the 17 shots he faced in relief of Lehtonen while Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford faced just 19 shots, stopping 18 to earn his 13th win of the season.
Stars center Jamie Benn, who returned from a two-game absence due to a groin injury, wasn't happy about the final score, especially the fact that he and his teammates left both Lehtonen and Bachman hung out to dry for much of the evening.
"We left them hanging out to dry. That's unacceptable," Benn said. "We need to do something within this room to change that. It's just an unacceptable effort tonight."
Chicago continues its roadtrip on Monday night at Colorado while Dallas will close out a four-game homestand on the same night against Calgary.
NOTES: Chicago defenseman Michael Rozsival returned to the ice for the first time since March 8. Rozsival, who was paired with Leddy, had been a healthy scratch for the last three games...Attendance at the game, which featured a large pro-Blackhawks contingent, was 18,584, Dallas' third sellout of the season. … Besides Hossa, Kane and Toews, Bryan Bickell and Nick Leddy also had three-point performances in the win. … Brandon Saad and Viktor Stalberg also had two-assist games for Chicago. … The Stars are 0-2-1 through the first three games of their four-game homestand, which ends on Monday against Calgary.