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Spin move sinks Hawks in shootout loss to Lightning

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM



TAMPA, Fla. — The Blackhawks’ top line of center Jonathan Toews and wingers Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp was at the top of its game — again.

They did everything that’s needed from stars at this point in the season. But the stars of the Tampa Bay Lightning also showed up in a wild one at St. Pete Times Forum on Wednesday.

In the end, it was the Lightning’s stars — Martin St. Louis in particular — who provided the biggest highlights in their 4-3 shootout victory.

St. Louis scored the game-winner in the shootout with a spinning, highlight-reel move, and Dwayne Roloson turned away Toews, Kane and Marian Hossa to get the Lightning their first victory in five games.

St. Louis appeared to come to a stop, which isn’t allowed during shootouts, during his attempt before flipping it past goalie Corey Crawford.

“It was pretty close,” said Crawford, who was able to hold off Vincent Lecavalier and Steven Stamkos (who also attempted a spin move) before St. Louis. “He looked like he maybe stopped for a second and then kept going. They think they made the right decision. We just have to live with that.”

But it’s a tough way to lose considering the Hawks had rallied from a two-goal deficit to force overtime, overcame a bad penalty call from late in the third and were down two key players. Center Dave Bolland left after taking an elbow to the head late in the first, and Brian Campbell sat out with a lower-body injury.

As good as the Hawks’ eight-game winning streak had been in propelling them up the Western Conference standings, a handful of teams have stayed on their heels. And their schedule is arguably the toughest in the last few weeks of the season.

So recovering after their unexpected 3-2 loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday was a must for the Hawks. They did that partially.

“It’s too bad we couldn’t find a way to score and help [Crawford] in the shootout,” Toews said. “He made a couple big stops, and there’s not much to say about that play by St. Louis.”

But did he stop?

“When I saw the original play, you can still see his left foot moving forward,” Toews said. “It looked all right to me. But you want to argue it as much as you can in case there’s evidence to call it back. But it sucks. We had three great shooters in the shootout and we couldn’t get it done.”

Toews, Kane and Sharp accounted for all of the Hawks’ offense, combining for three goals and four assists. Defensemen Niklas Hjalmarsson and Brent Seabrook each had an assist.

Some other lines and players struggled at times against the Lightning, which went up 3-1 early in the second. Bryan Bickell was a minus-3 and Hossa, who had his point streak snapped, a minus-2.

Stamkos and St. Louis each had a goal and assist, dancing around the Hawks’ defense for their goals. Teddy Purcell gave Tampa Bay a two-goal lead just 80 seconds into the second period.

Sharp scored at 9:39 in the second, lifting in a rebound, and Toews tied it early in the third after a faceoff win and by redirecting in a shot by Hjalmarsson.

In overtime alone, Roloson stoned Bickell on a breakaway, while Crawford was able to glove a deflected shot that hit his crossbar and later stop a blast from defenseman Victor Hedman.

“They are an explosive team, and when you give them a chance they can score,” Seabrook said. “Obviously, the Stamkos, St. Louis, Lecavalier line can put the pucks in the net, and we got down early. But the guys showed some heart and fought back.”



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