The bad thing about Monday’s 5-2 loss to Chicago is it tells you how far away the Stars are from that kind of greatness.

Not only were the Blackhawks good, they simply found a new level when the game became tied 2-2 in the third period. You can’t really say Chicago was playing with its food, but you can say it never lost control of that game. You can say that, from this side of the glass, the Blackhawks look to be in another league.

Now, the good thing about Monday night is you can get a glimpse of just how great winning can be.

Seven years ago, the United Center was dead. There were 13,000 fans there (if that), home games were not on television, there was no real hope for improvement.

Heck, the anthem wasn’t even that great back then.

And look at it now. The Blackhawks have built one of the great sports experiences in America on some strong drafts, some wily personnel moves, and some great in-arena decisions. The talent is great, the coaching is great, but the buzz is great, too. The National Anthem in Chicago is a unique tradition, where the crowd screams and cheers while the Star-Spangled Banner is being sung. The ovation was thunderous on Monday, a statement about this country and how it will respond to the tragedy in Boston.

The cheers for icons like Bobby Hull and Al Secord were impressive, but not as big as they were for current heroes Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane or Duncan Keith. And “Chelsea Dagger’’ might be the best goal song ever. It is both celebratory and cocky, and it gets played a lot _ five times on Monday.

To be honest, the reaction was perfect. It was a beautiful thing to witness.

It sparked memories of a place that was not so different 15 years ago. When the Stars were winning at Reunion Arena, the building was one of the loudest in the league. When Rock n’ Roll Part 2 played, fans knew exactly what to do. There was the StarsClub tent and great personalities and plenty of talk on the radio and stories in the newspaper. There were car flags everywhere.

You miss it, don’t you?

You have to look at Chicago and be envious _ not just for their players and their coach and their building, but for their fun. You have to want that back. Who wouldn’t?

And that’s a great lesson for Stars fans, because it shows what is possible out there.

The great thing about “Chelsea Dagger’’ is it was installed by arena personnel in 2008. The great thing about United Center is it’s not Chicago Stadium. The great thing about Kane and Toews and Keith is they are not Hull and Mikita and Esposito. Just because you did it once, doesn’t mean you can’t do it again. It doesn’t mean that something completely different can’t be built on the pile of dirt that your franchise once became.

The Blackhawks did it, and it is beautiful.