The Blackhawks invited the Dallas Stars to the United Center on Sunday night, but it was the Hawks’ stars who led the team to the 4-3 win. Brian Campbell, who Chicago brought in to anchor the team’s power play unit, had four assists and three of them with the man advantage.
"Our special teams were great,” said Head Coach Denis Savard. “That’s why we got [Campbell] here. He wants to be the guy and it showed tonight.”
The Blackhawks started their scoring early, as Jonathan Toews scored his first goal of the game 32 seconds in on a Chicago power play. Dallas’ Matt Niskanen answered back with a goal of his own, but Patrick Sharp netted a power play goal from the left circle to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead, which they would never relinquish. Toews added another power play goal in the second period, as the Blackhawks converted 3 of 8 chances on the man advantage.
“I wasn’t impressed with our special teams play,” said Dallas Head Coach Dave Tippett, “and they got the goals they needed.”
Winger Jack Skille scored the game-winning goal for the Hawks later in the second period – his first of the preseason – and was named one of the game’s three stars.
Joel Lundqvist and Loui Eriksson also scored for Dallas in the loss.
“All of the kids played really well,” said Savard. “[Skille] was outstanding. Up-and-down, he played hard. He scored a nice goal. He’s in great shape and it showed in these games; guys who are well-conditioned get ahead of everybody.”
“It feels good to get the monkey off the back,” said Skille of his goal. “Campbell made a great pass. I drove the net, saw I had a step on him, and was fortunate for my backhand to go in.”
Finnish goaltender Antti Niemi, making his NHL debut, made 28 saves in the winning effort.
“We wanted to give him some experience and we wanted to play him in front of the home crowd,” explained Savard. “He reacted very well.”
“I thought he was very good early and he stopped a lot of the shots we were throwing at him,” said Tippett.
The Blackhawks (3-0-0) will now play four preseason games on the road before returning to the United Center for the final game of the preseason against Colorado.