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Blackhawks return home to beat Stars
There were no reports of Blackhawks players getting lost en route to the United Center or walking into the visitors' dressing room by mistake.
After 23 days away from their home rink, anything was possible when the Hawks returned Saturday night from an eight-game trip.
Showing no road weariness, the Hawks were solid on both ends of the ice in a 6-2 victory over the Dallas Stars before a crowd of 22,704, the club's 24th sellout in as many games. The victory snapped a three-game home winless skid as the Hawks improved to 15-4-5 at the United Center.
Martin Havlat had two goals and an assist and Jonathan Toews a goal and two assists to propel the Hawks, who had lost two of their last three games.
The victory could prove costly, however, as leading goal-scorer Patrick Sharp left the game with an apparent left leg or knee injury in the opening minute. Dallas' Steve Ott checked Sharp into the boards in the Hawks' end, and Sharp crumpled to the ice. Sharp, who has 23 goals, had to be helped into the dressing room and didn't return.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville would describe the injury only as "lower body" after the game and said the forward wasn't likely to make the upcoming three-game trip that begins Tuesday night at Tampa Bay.
"We needed a win," Havlat said. "It doesn't matter if we scored six goals or won by one goal. It was important to win because the last three games we didn't play the way we wanted. [Saturday night] the whole team played much better."
The Hawks reeled off the game's first five goals, and Cristobal Huet was solid in goal to record his 14th victory a day after losing 1-0 to the Blues in St. Louis.
Troy Brouwer got things going for the Hawks with a first-period goal, and Havlat had the only two scores in the second. Toews and Colin Fraser opened the third with goals, and the rout was on.
"After a big road trip it feels nice to actually have the crowd cheer when I score a goal," said Toews, who recorded his team-high seventh game-winning goal. "It felt great to come back here and play in front of our fans."
The game was the Hawks' first at the United Center since a 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Jan. 17. They went 5-3 on their just-concluded road trip.
"We skated really well," said Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who had an assist. "We hadn't been skating very well the last few games. That's a team that has been hot. They came at us really hard at the start, and I think we wore them down."
Fabian Brunnstrom ended Huet's shutout bid early in the third, and Brian Sutherby scored to make it 5-2, but Kris Versteeg capped the victory with a goal in the waning seconds for the Hawks.
"Chicago had a lot more jump, and they played harder than us," Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. "We should have come out a lot stronger because of the importance of the game, but not everyone showed up."