DALLAS — The Blackhawks have produced their fair share of meltdowns in recent seasons, but Wednesday’s collapse against the Stars might have been their worst yet.
The Hawks allowed five goals over the game’s final 10 minutes in a 6-4 regulation loss, throwing away everything on a night that appeared — midway through the third period — on track to be one of their best performances of the season.
“That’s a game that we have to find a way to close out,” Max Domi said bluntly. “You’ve got to find a way to win that one. We were in complete control. Just a couple plays, couple bounces here, and it’s on us to close that one out. We had no business losing that game.”
Domi gave the Hawks a 4-1 lead with 10:23 left thanks to a spectacular diving poke at a rebound, seemingly adding insurance after a stellar second period in which the Hawks scored three times and thoroughly controlled play.
But then the wheels completely fell off. Jamie Benn scored a power-play goal with 9:45 left, then Mason Marchment and Ty Dellandrea found the net twice in 14 seconds to tie the game with 5:48 left.
Radek Faksa scored the game-winning goal with an innocent bank-in off Hawks goalie Petr Mrazek with 1:33 left; it wasn’t initially called a goal, but the puck obviously crossed the line on replay. Jason Robertson added an empty-netter in the waning seconds.
Hawks coach Luke Richardson, whose team has now lost five straight games and 11 of their last 13 overall, said he didn’t consider calling a timeout to slow the Stars’ momentum.
“We didn’t have our work ethic and we sat back a little bit — not [exactly] trying to preserve it, but they were coming hard and we just didn’t handle it well,” Richardson said. “On every goal, it was something different… Unfortunately, I thought the guys worked really hard for 40 or 50 minutes. But the game is 60 minutes, so that’s just a tough lesson to learn.”
Added Domi: “You knew they were going to have their push in the third, and you have to give them credit. But when that happens, you have to find a way to weather the storm, tighten it up a little bit, find ways to stand in front of pucks and get pucks out. [If we] just play simple hockey the last 10 minutes, we win that game. It’s a tough one.”
Defenseman Seth Jones played 21:13 and scored his first goal of the season in his return from his thumb injury. He said he felt decent but made some “boneheaded plays.”
Forward Sam Lafferty missed the third period with an injury, contributing to the Hawks’ fatigue when trying to defend an onslaught of chances — the Stars outshot the Hawks 21-5 in the final frame alone. Richardson said Lafferty was “sore” and will be reevaluated Thursday before the Hawks’ home matinee Friday against the Canadiens.