There's something about the Dallas Stars and time winding down that brings out the best in Jason Williams.
For the second time this season the Blackhawks winger scored the game-winning goal in the waning moments against Dallas as the Hawks defeated the Stars 5-4 Wednesday night before a crowd of 14,756 at American Airlines Arena.
The Hawks took a 3-1 lead into the third period, but the Stars stormed back with three straight goals—one at even strength, one short-handed and one on the power play—to lead 4-3 and put the Hawks in jeopardy of losing their fourth straight game. Williams then took over, scoring the tying goal and the game-winner with 20.4 seconds remaining.
"We definitely made that one interesting," Williams said. "Going into the third period we knew we had the lead and for us to give up those couple of goals—especially the one on the power play—everybody was down a little bit. After that we stuck with it and tried to keep doing what we were doing throughout the game."
Williams' wrist shot from inside the right circle beat Stars goalie Mike Smith for his sixth goal of the season and helped the Hawks even their record at 6-6. Williams had scored the game-winning goal 43 seconds into overtime in the Hawks' 2-1 victory over Dallas on Oct. 13 at the United Center.
"We fought back in the first game, too, to come back and win," Williams said. "And this game we were up a couple of goals and they got a couple of goals early in the third period to get some momentum and we sort of took over after that."
After Mike Ribiero scored at the 4:02 mark of the first period to give Dallas a 1-0 lead, Jonathan Toews scored his fifth goal of the season three minutes later when he beat Dallas starter Marty Turco from between the rings. The goal extended Toews' point streak to all 10 NHL games in which he has played.
The Hawks took a 2-1 lead on James Wisniewski's power-play goal with 11:30 remaining in the second period. The defenseman blasted a shot from the point that got past Turco to his glove side for his third goal.
Patrick Kane's fifth goal gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead. The rookie picked up a loose puck between the circles, spun around and fired a shot from his forehand past Turco.
That was enough for Stars coach Dave Tippett, who pulled Turco for Smith with 9:01 remaining in the second.
Dallas opened the third with pressure on Hawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and scored 40 seconds in as Phillippe Boucher fired a shot through Khabibulin's legs to make it 3-2.
Dallas tied it at 3-3 with 14:46 left in the third with a short-handed goal by Niklas Hagman. Sergei Zubov picked up a loose puck, skated over the line and sent a shot that hit Hagman's skate and went into the net for Hagman's seventh goal.
The Hawks yielded their first road power-play goal when Zubov scored with 9:53 remaining with two Hawks in the penalty box. The Hawks then tied it 4-4 when Robert Lang sent a long pass to Williams, who tipped it past Smith at the 12:49 mark of the third.
"We're making these games a little harder on ourselves," Williams said. "We'd like to learn how to play with the lead."