The Blackhawks could have used some efforts like this when they were still in the playoff hunt.
Their week of too little, too late continued with a 6-1 throttling of the Stars on Friday, and they get a chance to hassle another one of their favorite opponents in the season finale on Saturday in Nashville.
“It would have been nice to have these games early on, but nothing we can do about it now,” Patrick Kane said. “We’re in this situation, so come along, give it the best we can, especially in front of our home fans here. We did a great job the last couple games and hopefully gave them something to think about and be proud of.”
The Hawks manhandled the Stars throughout one of the most complete performances they’ve had down the stretch. The Stars sat winger Jamie Benn and goalie Ben Bishop, but it was still an impressive win.
Kane put the Hawks up 1-0 late in the first period. He added another goal with four minutes remaining.
Kane’s goals moved him two away from his career-high 46 and bumped his already career-high point total to 109.
By the time Chris Kunitz scored to make it 3-0 midway through the second period, the Hawks had a 22-14 advantage in shots on goal.
Kunitz scored his fifth goal of the season, and defenseman Slater Koekkoek scored his first goal since being acquired in a trade in January.
“I wish it came in a more meaningful game, but it felt good,” Koekkoek said. “The fans are sick here.”
Dominik Kahun and Dylan Strome also scored for the Hawks. Strome’s goal gave the team five players with at least 20, though three of those came with the Coyotes before he was traded in November.
Hawks goalie Corey Crawford suffered a groin injury in the second period and missed the rest of the game. He stopped all of his nine shots before being replaced by Cam Ward, who saved 25 of 26.
Coach Jeremy Colliton said the team does not believe Crawford’s injury is serious and added that he wanted to finish the game. He will not travel to Nashville, and he finished the season with a .908 save percentage and 2.77 goals against average.
Kevin Lankinen will be called up from Rockford to back up Ward on Saturday.
Fights happen in hockey, but taking on ex-Hawk Dustin Byfuglien can be hazardous to one’s health.
If Drake Caggiula didn’t know that before, he certainly did after Byfuglien, now with the Jets, whaled on his face this week.
“I wasn’t looking for a fight,” Caggiula said. “He’s a big boy, so that’s one of those guys that I’m kind of not trying to fight. It’s part of the game, and the way I play sometimes that happens.”
Byfuglien is 6-5, 260 pounds, and Caggiula checks in at a modest 5-10, 176 pounds.