If the Blackhawks are going to be successful this season, they know they need to make the United Center a house of horrors for opponents.
There were plenty of scary-looking costumes in the stands Friday night on Halloween, but the result on the ice was anything but frightening for the Hawks as they snapped a two-game losing streak with a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars before a crowd of 21,212.
Cam Barker, Brent Sopel, Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien all scored their first goals of the season and Patrick Kane added his sixth to help lift the Hawks' record to 4-0-2 at home and 4-3-3 overall.
"We can't wait for the top guys, [ Jonathan] Toews and Kane and [ Patrick] Sharp, to score every night," said Sopel, whose goal midway through the second period proved to be the game-winner. "We need to be a balanced team from start to finish and from front to back and have everybody contributing."
Dallas took a 1-0 lead on Loui Eriksson's first-period goal before Barker and Kane put the Hawks up 2-1 after one.
Barker blasted a power-play slap shot from the point off Brian Campbell's pass past Dallas goaltender Tobias Stephan to tie it. Kane scored after taking a feed from Martin Havlat, who was streaking down the left side of the ice, and firing a one-timer past Stephan to give the Hawks the lead.
Dallas tied it 2-2 early in the second on Steve Ott's goal before Sopel struck. Kane found the defenseman open at the top of the left circle, and the veteran teed it up and fired it past Stephan on the stick side. It was Kane's second assist of the night.
"I thought after the first period we played the way we like to play," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Coming out with that first-period lead was big, and [goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin] gave us a chance holding us in there.
"I liked the way we competed. We generated a lot of offense."
Ladd got his first when the winger picked up a loose puck and put a wrist shot past Stephan from inside the left faceoff circle in the third to make it 4-2, and Byfuglien finished the scoring soon after when Dave Bolland's pass hit him in the skate and bounced into the net.
Friday night's game was the first of a stretch of seven games in which six are at home. After that stretch the Hawks take to the road for six games, so they realize they need to use the opportunity to pick up some points in the Western Conference race.
"We want to play well here," Ladd said of the United Center. "We have the fans behind us, and we should have lots of energy. It's something we want to take pride in and make it tough for teams to play here."
Hawks penalty-killers were strong, stopping all five Dallas opportunities.
"We made too many mistakes and gave Chicago a lot of open breaks," Stars coach Dave Tippett said.
"The turnovers hurt us, and we did not play a smart road game."
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