DALLAS — There is nothing wrong with salvaging points every now and then. But at some point, salvaging becomes squandering. And after their third overtime loss in the last six games — and their second straight against a divisional foe in the Stars — the Blackhawks’ squandered points are starting to add up.
“Especially against divisional teams,” defenseman Connor Murphy said after the Stars won 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night to sweep a tense and entertaining home-and-home series in which the Hawks never led but never trailed by more than a goal. “We’ve done it lately against Nashville and [Tampa Bay] and now Dallas. Those are not swings you want.”
Goalie Anton Forsberg made 32 saves in his first start since Corey Crawford was put on injured reserve and said he is ready to go if coach Joel Quenneville wants to use him again Sunday against the Kings. But as has been the case in three of his other starts this season, Forsberg wasn’t rewarded after playing well enough to win.
A stellar first period by the Hawks ended in a 1-1 tie, with Alexander Radulov scoring a power-play goal and Cody Franson answering with his first goal of the season. An awful second period for the Hawks ended in a 2-2 tie, with Radek Faksa scoring and Brandon Saad tipping in a Murphy shot in the final minute.
That set the stage for a taut third period and wild overtime session, with neither team able to break through. Radulov and Tyler Seguin scored in the shootout, while Ben Bishop stopped both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
“Anytime you lose in shootouts or overtimes in back-to-back games like that, especially [in] division games, it’s frustrating,” Franson said. “But we were a little too sloppy. They’re a group of guys that feed off transition, and we didn’t manage the puck quite well enough. If we’d done a little bit better there, we would have won that before we got to overtime.”
The Hawks fell to 2-5 in extra time. It was their first shootout of the season.
“We had a solid first period, solid third period, had the off-switch in the second,” Quenneville said. “But we’ll take the point. Tonight, maybe we were fortunate to get one.”
Berube on call
J-F Berube made just 26 appearances over the last two seasons in the NHL and AHL combined, as the Islanders mostly kept him around as a third goaltender rather than have him play in the minors. So the 26-year-old has been happy to split time with Jeff Glass for the Rockford IceHogs. Berube had a .913 save percentage in 12 games with Rockford before being called up to back up Forsberg while Crawford is on injured reserve.
“It was good to play on a consistent basis,” Berube said. “For me, that was the most important thing, [after] not playing much the past two years. I wanted to get more games and get my game habits back. It’s one thing to practice, but when gametime comes, it’s a whole different game. I feel comfortable with my game right now and I’m trying to push it forward.”
Follow me on Twitter @MarkLazerus.