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Blackhawks win 4th straight, beat Stars 5-2

DALLAS (AP) — Marian Hossa scored 36 seconds after the opening faceoff, Colin Fraser had the first of his two goals in the final minute of the first period, and the Chicago Blackhawks stretched their winning streak to four games with a 5-2 victory over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night.

Chicago's Antti Niemi made 26 saves in his sixth straight start, and Jonathan Toews contributed a short-handed goal for the Blackhawks.

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville hasn't officially named Niemi as his playoff starter over Cristobal Huet, but that seems to be the direction in which Quenneville is leaning based on recent starts.

Patrick Kane also scored for the Central Division champs, who have three games left to pass San Jose for top playoff seed in the West.

Steve Ott connected on the power play to reach the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career, and James Neal scored his 27th goal of the season for Dallas.

Rookie Matt Climie stopped 33 shots for the Stars, who have been eliminated from playoff contention and have two games left.

Dallas will miss the playoffs for the second consecutive season, something that hasn't occurred since 1987 and 1988 when the franchise was in Minnesota.

Hossa gave Chicago early momentum when he skated around Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman and to the net where he converted Toews' centering pass for his 24th goal of the season.

Fraser's deflection at 19:28 of the opening period pushed Chicago's lead to 2-0.

The Blackhawks dominated the first period with a 15-5 edge in shots.

Toews capitalized on a 2 on 1 rush during a penalty kill for his 24th goal of the season at 5:58 of the second period to give Chicago a three-goal pad.

Ott struck on the power play 1 minute and 4 seconds later to pull Dallas within 3-1.

Fraser scored his second of the night and fourth of the season at 2:27 of the third period, and Kane made it 5-1 with his 30th of the season at 9:53 of the third.

Neal's goal at 12:45 of the third narrowed the deficit to 5-2.

NOTES: The teams split the four-game season series. ... Dallas has gone 7-10-2 since the Olympic break to fall out of the playoff race. ... Former U.S. goaltender Jim Craig performed the ceremonial puck-drop before the game. ... Dallas LW and captain Brenden Morrow was scratched due to a bruised foot sustained in Saturday night's 2-1 loss at St. Louis. ... Climie made his fourth career NHL appearance in what will be his only start this season. Coach Marc Crawford will use Marty Turco and Kari Lehtonen in the final two games. ... Brad Richards assisted on Neal's goal for his 91st point, tying a career high.