DALLAS — Artem Anisimov is the least-heralded player on his own line.
The Chicago center had a short-handed goal and three assists, and the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks beat the second-place Dallas Stars 5-1.
“(Anisimov’s) been a very big part of our team this year,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “That line’s been tremendous, everybody does a little bit something different, but playing on the penalty kill and taking faceoffs, on the power play and making that line go, he’s been terrific in a lot of ways. Tonight he gets the production to show for it.”
Kane scored his NHL-leading 32nd goal, and Panarin had two assists to boost his point total to 52. The line combined for two goals and five assists.
Corey Crawford made 36 saves for Chicago, which moved five points ahead of Dallas in the Central Division.
“I was seeing the puck well,” Crawford said. “A couple rebounds there that our guys were able to jump on and get it out of there. I thought our special teams was the difference. Two short-handed goals were pretty important tonight.”
The teams will meet three more times — twice in Chicago, including Thursday, and once in Dallas. They have split two games so far.
“They beat us handily (4-0) here last time, so we’re even,” Quenneville said.
Dallas defenseman Alex Goligoski was on the ice for the Blackhawks’ last four goals.
“They knew what happened here last time, and didn’t want that to happen again,” he said. “It will be nice to get them again pretty quick, so it’s a chance to get them back.”
Niemi made eight saves. Kari Lehtonen replaced Niemi in the second and had 13 saves while giving up two goals.
“We basically gave them four of their goals,” Dallas coach Lindy Ruff. “Even the one late in the second” when Kane put in a rebound at even strength.
Niklas Hjalmarsson also had two assists for Chicago.
Tyler Seguin scored the Stars’ goal at 17:46 of the first period.
Dallas was unable to quiet the transplanted Blackhawks fans in a sellout crowd.
“They came to play their game,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said. “They embarrassed us in front of our fans in our own building.”
Stars defenseman John Klingberg was called for hooking just 29 seconds into the game. Anisimov won the faceoff, the puck went to Seabrook and he sent a slap shot past Niemi 34 seconds in.
Van Riemsdyk gave Chicago a 2-0 lead at 16:26. Panarin’s shot from inside the blue line rebounded high off Niemi’s chest, and van Riemsdyk gathered the puck low in the left circle and shot it into the net.
At 12:39 of the second, Anisimov picked up a loose puck, beat two defenders across the blue line and sent a wrist shot in the lower left of the net past Lehtonen.
“I’d say (Anisimov) made a great individual play,” Quenneville said. “Hossa one-timed a rebound after (Jonathan Toews) makes a nice play. You can get some high-quality chances short-handed, but that’s not the focus.”
Anisimov has three short-handed goals, tied for second in the league. … Toews’ first-period assist was the 300th of his NHL career. … Niemi started his season-high sixth straight game. … Chicago D Duncan Keith has 10 points (three goals, seven assists) in his last 10 games vs. Dallas. … Blackhawks RW Andrew Shaw played in his 300th game. … Chicago had been 1 for 19 on the power play in its last seven games before Seabrook scored. … The Stars had power-play goals in three of their previous four games, but went 0 for 6 with the two goals allowed on Saturday.