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Late goal sinks Blackhawks’ comeback; Rangers win 3-2

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Updated: January 9, 2014 12:09AM

The Blackhawks have the talent to rebound from a bad start against any team. Down two goals against the Rangers on Wednesday, they tied the game before falling 3-2 at the United Center.

But they shouldn’t have to climb out of holes. Great theater isn’t their goal.

This was the second consecutive game in which the Hawks appeared lethargic in the first period.

They scored twice in the second period to tie New York but harped on that first period.

Rangers winger Carl Hagelin scored the game-winner at 14:03 to snap the Hawks’ 10-game point streak.

“We know every game’s not going to be perfect, and we’re not going to have our legs every period,” center Marcus Kruger said. “We still have another level in effort that we always can bring. We felt pretty good here after the second, and I don’t know why we didn’t come up to our standards in the third.”

Goalie Corey Crawford symbolized the Hawks’ night.

They seemed to get beaten to every puck in the first period — their only chance was an empty-netter that Brandon Saad missed — and Crawford was equally poor on his end.

Rangers center Brad Richards beat Crawford through the five-hole at 5:06 of the first period on a wrister from the right dot. Then at 9:29, Mats Zuccarello beat Crawford with a wrap-around on a power play.

“We gave up a couple of funny goals to start the game,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “You’re down 2-0, it’s comparable to our first period last game, where we get off to a slow start. We give up a goal and the other team feeds off it, and they go from there. Two disappointing losses in a row at home. Late in the game, we should get it to overtime and go from there.”

In the second period, captain Jonathan Toews scored a power-play goal at 6:17, and Brandon Bollig tied the game at 2 with a wrister at 8:05.


Twitter: @SethGruen

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