Blackhawks 5, Stars 3
CHICAGO (AP) _ First, Bob Probert put some Dallas Stars on their backsides. Then, he put the puck in the net and gave the Chicago Blackhawks all the momentum they needed.
Probert had his first two-goal game with Chicago, assisted on Brent Sutter’s goal and threw his weight around all game Sunday as the Blackhawks rallied for a 5-3 victory over the Dallas Stars.
``He looked into it right off the hop,″ Dallas coach Ken Hitchcock said. ``When you have big players who play like big players, they’re going to control the play.″
Several hard hits by the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Probert woke up the Blackhawks after they fell behind 2-0 in the first 5:21. The former Detroit tough guy then scored on a beautiful move midway through the first period to start a run of four consecutive Chicago goals.
``Probie was out there banging bodies, scoring goals, doing everything,″ said linemate Jeff Shantz. ``I remember playing against him. He’s pretty scary when he has that edge on. When he gets a burr under his saddle, watch out.″
Signed as a free agent before last season but suspended by the league for recurring problems with drugs and alcohol, Probert has played well for Chicago since getting reinstated before this season.
Though known primarily as a brawler in nine years with the Red Wings, he is eighth on the Blackhawks with 15 goals and has often ignited them with his hustle and hard work.
``I try to play a tough, physical game and other things will come,″ Probert said. ``If you work hard, good things will happen. That showed today. The puck went into the net.″
On Probert’s first goal, he chased down a rebound at the side of the net and adroitly brought the puck in front before tucking it past goalie Darcy Wakaluk.
``That’s a goal-scorer’s goal,″ teammate Tony Amonte said. ``He’s got better hands than everybody thinks.″
At 4:46 of the second period, Probert worked the puck free along the boards to Shantz, who fed Sutter for the tap-in. About 2 1/2 minutes later, Denis Savard passed to Probert, whose slap shot from the left circle went off Wakaluk’s glove and into the net to put Chicago ahead to stay.
Amonte and Shantz also scored and Ed Belfour made 22 saves for the Blackhawks, who won for only the second time in six games without injured scoring leader Jeremy Roenick.
Benoit Hogue, Brent Gilchrist and Greg Adams scored for the Stars, who almost have to win their final seven games to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since moving from Minnesota to Dallas in 1993.
``I don’t think we’ve got the tenacity you need to play at this level,″ Hitchcock said. ``Emotionally, we need a stronger push out of more than one line.″
Hitchcock replaced Wakaluk with Andy Moog after Probert’s second goal. Moog allowed Amonte to score at 15:51 of the second period for a 4-2 Chicago lead.
After giving up goals to Hogue and Gilchrist in the first 5:21, Belfour stopped 20 straight shots before Adams scored with 4:55 to play.
Shantz scored into an empty net with 8.7 seconds left.