The Hawks put on a clinic in getting and holding onto the puck in the first half of the game when they built 3-0 and 4-1 leads. They had the puck a lot.
“Much more than [Friday] night,” Jonathan Toews said. “Last night it felt like, it’s over there, you’re chasing there and then next thing you know it’s over there. And it’s just kind of a tiring game to play, but once you get your timing down and get on the same page with everyone, you figure things out. You can conserve energy and use that speed and energy at the right time.”
The Hawks did that to near perfection on Saturday, only allowing one great chance by the Stars in the first half of the game but Corey Crawford stopped Steve Ott at point-blank range and the rest of the game was history.
Physical play: Because the Blackhawks had the puck so much, their physical play didn’t show up in the boxscore, but they think some early contact helped them establish themselves in the contest.
“Our physical game was a lot better tonight,” he said. “They dictated physically last night and I thought we did tonight.”
O’Donnell credited the forwards for helping in such a great defensive effort when the game mattered most. At one point, late in the second period, the Hawks were outshooting the Stars 21-4.
“We were playing a lot more in their end,” O’Donnell said. “It’s a lot easier game for the defense. Whenever you see an easier game for the defense you have to give credit to the forwards. They were coming back tonight and when they’re not, all of a sudden we don’t know what to do with it. I thought the forwards did a much better job tonight of hurrying back and giving us outs.”
“It was at the end of my shift,” Mayer said. “I was definitely tired after that.”
Mayers loved the energy in the building.
“The energy starts in warm-up,” he said. “They were into the game the whole night. It was definitely good to be on this side.”
Toews scored a breakaway goal after coming out of the penalty box.
“It’s weird,” Toews said. “It’s never happened to me before. I just had a feeling that this time it was going to happen. Three guys were yelling at [Brent Seabrook] because they all knew I was up the middle there. I had all the time in the world.”
Marcus Kruger played well after his recall from Rockford. He earned his first NHL point on an assist and drew two power plays for Chicago.
“I thought he played well,” Quennville said. “He got better each day in camp…and he handled going down [to the minors] well. And he handled his first game here as well.”
Twelve different Hawks recorded at least a point in the game. Patrick Sharp had a goal and assist.
Joel Quenneville said he dressed seven defensemen so everyone on the roster could play in the first two games, save Ray Emery. John Scott played three minutes, taking three shifts. Rostislav Olesz and Sami Lepisto were the healthy scratches.
The Hawks are off on Sunday before returning to practice Monday in preparation for the Winnipeg Jets, who are in town on Thursday.