CHICAGO — The Dallas Stars failed to clinch the first wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference, losing 6-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Friday.
Dallas (42-32-7) is one point ahead of the Colorado Avalanche, who hold the second wild card. Each team has clinched a postseason berth and plays its final regular-season game Saturday.
“We obviously didn’t like the effort tonight,” Stars forward Jason Spezza said. “Just the way we executed. We made some mistakes we haven’t made in a long time. We have a game tomorrow. We can refocus tomorrow morning, get back at it tomorrow, get a win, and head in [to the playoffs] on a good note.”
[WATCH: All Stars vs. Blackhawks highlights]
Joel L’Esperance scored, and Anton Khudobin made 26 saves for Dallas, which is 4-1-1 in its past six games.
“We just want to make sure we’re playing the right way, playing to our identity,” Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. “If we do that, we give ourselves a real good chance and get to get positive outcomes.”
Patrick Kane scored two goals for the Blackhawks (36-33-12), who have been eliminated from playoff contention.
“I think we had a good team,” Kane said. “I think we had a team that maybe could have surprised some people in the playoffs too. That’s the way it goes though. You might have a good team, but if you don’t get it done, you’re not going to be playing. So it’s disappointing.”
Kane gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 16:45 of the first period when he scored from the top of the right face-off circle.
With the goal, Kane became the second player in Chicago history to have at least 108 points in a season; Denis Savard did it four times. Kane’s previous NHL career high was 106 points, in 2015-16, when he led the NHL in scoring.
“No surprise he’s going to find a way to come through and produce when he gets the puck in those situations,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said of Kane. “He just finds a way, it’s unbelievable. He knocked that one puck down with his shaft I think. That’s what he does.”
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford left the game at 6:47 of the second period with a groin injury. He made nine saves on nine shots.
Cam Ward made 25 saves in relief. It was his 700th NHL game.
Dominik Kahun gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead at 11:11 of the second when he scored off the rebound of Brandon Saad‘s shot.
Chris Kunitz made it 3-0 at 13:05, scoring from the right of the crease. Play continued for nine seconds before the Situation Room initiated a video review that showed the puck crossed the goal line.
“Guys were just hopeful, I think it was going in, it crossed the line,” Kunitz said. “But you could see the celebration, they all kind of pulled me there. It was great to be able to score one.”
Dylan Strome made it 4-0 at 17:51. He skated around Khudobin and scored his 20th goal.
Slater Koekkoek made it 5-0 44 seconds into the third period with a shot from the left circle. It was his first goal with the Blackhawks.
L’Esperance made it 5-1 at 7:18 of the third, scoring from the left of the crease on a Stars power play.
Kane scored on a breakaway to give Chicago a 6-1 lead at 16:11. It was his 44th goal, two shy of his NHL career high, set in 2015-16.
They said it
“You’d like to be playing well, we have been playing well, and I think we’ll get over tonight pretty quick. Obviously, I think we were all looking too far ahead going into tonight. Feel bad for our goalie. [Anton Khudobin’s] done a lot for us this year and would’ve liked a better showing in front of him tonight, but we’ll regroup pretty quick here and finish off strong, especially at home, tomorrow night.” — Stars center Tyler Seguin
“Tonight was great, well all year round it’s been great, but tonight was great too. Just kind of the wherewithal (of the fans) to have the presence of mind to be whistling at the end and kind of showing thanks for the season even though we obviously didn’t have the season we wanted.” — Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane
Need to know
Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews had two assists and reached 80 points in the NHL for the first time with the first, on Kane’s goal in the first period. It’s the first time the Blackhawks have had two players with at least 80 points in a season since Steve Larmer (101) and Jeremy Roenick (94) in 1990-91. … Chicago recalled goalie Kevin Lankinen on an emergency basis from Rockford of the American Hockey League following the game. … Stars forward Alexander Radulov had an assist on L’Esperance’s goal and has 11 points (five goals, six assists) during a seven-game point streak. He needs one point for 300 in the NHL.
Stars: Host the Minnesota Wild on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-SW, FS-N, NHL.TV)
Blackhawks: At the Nashville Predators on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV)