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Blackhawks suffer heartbreaking loss as Ducks win shootout 3-2

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes save rebound attempt by Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry during second period

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) makes a save on a rebound attempt by Anaheim Ducks right wing Corey Perry during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charlie Arbogast)

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Updated: February 12, 2013 11:24PM



The thumping music, happy chatter and good vibes that had marked post game dressing rooms nearly all season were nowhere to be found in the wake of the Blackhawks’ 3-2 shootout loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday night. The room was mostly empty, Corey Crawford patiently answering questions in the corner while the rest of the team quickly cleared out.

Yes, the Hawks extended their streak of games without a regulation loss to 13 to start the season. Yes, they moved within three games of Anaheim’s NHL record of 16. Yes, they got a point despite one of their lesser efforts of the season.

But to come home to a frothed-up fan base after coming out of a brutal starting stretch unscathed and lose in such a manner — the Ducks tied it with 2:40 left in regulation on Andrew Cogliano’s rebound goal, then won it when Brandon Saad couldn’t match Corey Perry’s goal in the shootout after the Hawks squandered two overtime power plays — was a disappointment for a team that has come to expect victory every night.

“Well, it’s still good to get a point,” said Crawford, sharp again in making 29 saves, including a couple of point-blank glove-hand robberies of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. “But it’s definitely frustrating when you’re up and they decide it late like that.”

For a while, it looked like Saad — a scoring-chance generating machine and surely the most popular top-liner with one point through 11 games in Hawks history — would be the hero. The crowd, seeing its first Hawks home game in 15 days, was quiet for much of the first 30 minutes of the game, lulled to sleep by a sluggish offense. With the score tied 1-1 after Getzlaf and Nick Leddy traded second-period power-play goals, Saad brought the crowd to its feet by leaving his own.

Racing down the ice, Saad’s feet got tangled up and he went soaring and scoring — both feet off the ice, his body parallel to the ice when he started his shot — to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead. A lengthy review followed before NHL officials in Toronto ruled the puck crossed the line before the net was knocked off its moorings during the ensuing scrum.

“I didn’t really know if it went in or not, but obviously it did,” Saad said.

The ruling stunned and infuriated the Ducks.

“I don’t think anyone on the ice, [the Hawks] included, thought that there was a chance it was a goal,” Bobby Ryan said. “We had guys discussing plays to make off the next faceoff. It felt like it was so blatantly obvious that it didn’t go in.”

The goal sent the 21,188 fans into a tizzy, which was only amplified when the Hawks immediately followed it by killing two penalties, including 64 seconds of a 5-on-3. Niklas Hjalmarsson, Marcus Kruger and Seabrook fended off a full minute of near-constant pressure by the Ducks to sustain and build off the momentum created by Saad’s Superman goal.

But as the Hawks clung to their lead for dear life, Anaheim finally broke through, as Cogliano got a perfect rebound of a Francois Beauchemin shot for an easy tying tap-in with 2:40 left in the third period, deflating the Hawks and the UC.

“I tried to make a read off the bounce, but it was a pretty quick play,” Crawford said. “They were pretty fortunate to get a bounce right on his stick to the side. Just a tough bounce, whatever. It’s going to happen sometimes.”

Saad made another big play when he drew a penalty with 9.8 seconds left in regulation. But the Hawks couldn’t score on the overtime power play, nor the next one, also on a Toni Lydman penalty. With their four big guns — Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp — on the ice, the Hawks came up empty. And in the shootout, only Toews scored, with Kane and Saad getting stuffed by Viktor Fasth.

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville equated the game to the one in Calgary, in which the Hawks “stole” two points despite having an off night. On Tuesday against the Ducks, they almost got away with it again. Almost.

“[Against] Calgary, we were fortunate, tonight [we were in] the same boat,” Quenneville said. “Tough game. That first game back, you need everything going. We almost got to the finish line.”



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