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Blackhawks strike late again for OT win
When things seem bleakest for the Blackhawks, they look for Robert Lang.
Rookie Jonathan Toews found him with a slap shot that deflected off the veteran center and into the net with 1.5 seconds remaining Saturday night to send the game into overtime, and the Hawks then scored to defeat the Dallas Stars 2-1 at the United Center.
Lang has three goals for the season, and all three have tied or won the game in the waning minutes for the Hawks (3-2). Lang's goal and Jason Williams' subsequent game-winner 43 seconds into overtime spoiled a terrific effort by Stars goalie Tobias Stephan, who was making his NHL debut.
"I had a nice little tap-in rebound 10 seconds earlier, and he made a good save," Lang said. "And then you score one that probably shouldn't have gone in. It was a shot that was going wide, and it hits you and goes in. That's hockey. I'm happy to take any of those. If it's 10 seconds or a second, it still tied the game and it was great."
Stephan, who gave regular goalie Marty Turco a night off, made 38 saves — including 20 during a third-period Blackhawks onslaught.
"He made a couple of big saves early on, and that's where he got his confidence," Toews said. "He played a good game, and compliments to him for doing a good job. But bottom line, when you run into a hot goalie like that, you have to stick with it. And that's what we did."
Williams won it on the power play with a slap shot that eluded Stephan and gave the Hawks their second straight come-from-behind victory.
"We just kept shooting and shooting and shooting, and we knew eventually maybe one would go in," Williams said. "We were getting good chances by playing good defensively."
Both Hawks goals came on the power play, after they had started the game scoreless in six man-advantage situations.
Backup goalie Patrick Lalime made 17 saves for the Hawks, including several after the Stars had taken a 1-0 lead in the first period on a Brenden Morrow power-play goal. The goal came off a rebound from Lalime and was assisted by Niklas Hagman and Mike Ribeiro.
"I didn't have a lot of shots," said Lalime, who gave Nikolai Khabibulin a rest. "I tried to stay in and make the save when I had to. We stuck with the game plan and got a big goal at the end."
Toews and fellow rookie Patrick Kane, who had an assist along with Lang on Williams' game-winner, logged 19:15 and 21:23 of ice time, respectively, and were on the ice when the Hawks had a four-on-three situation in overtime.
"Me and Kaner were getting a little frustrated, but we stuck with it and it paid off," Toews said. "[The team] stuck with it right until the end, played 60 minutes. We deserved those goals and I think we can be happy about our performance."
Lang scored the game-winner in Friday night's 3-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings and had the game-tying goal against the Red Wings on Oct. 6 in the Hawks' home opener.
"I'm just really happy we managed to again pull from behind and stick together and have a good win," Lang said. "It's a great two points for us. We are a young team, and anything like this is good for confidence."