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Blackhawks suffer tough 3-2 shootout loss to rival Blues

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Updated: October 17, 2013 11:05PM

Joel Quenneville said Thursday morning that he was finally over last week’s last-minute loss to the Blues in St. Louis.

Well, now he has a new one to chew on.

Quenneville was pretty much disgusted with his team’s play over the final two periods as the Hawks fell to the Blues 3-2 in a shootout Thursday night at the United Center. The Hawks got it to overtime this time, but in two head-to-head meetings between the presumptive favorites in the Central Division, the Blues have emerged with a full four points.

T.J. Oshie scored in the shootout, while Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp all came up empty.

“Awful,” Quenneville said. “Didn’t like our game at all. … I didn’t like our pace, I didn’t like the way we turned pucks over, I didn’t like how we didn’t get pucks to the net. We didn’t generate any offense after the first period.”

After the first 12 minutes, really.

All the story lines were familiar in this one. The Hawks failed to score more than three goals for the sixth straight game, scoring just two for the fourth time in that span. They again got off to a tremendous start before trudging through the last two periods. And they went scoreless in the third period for the sixth straight game. All seven Hawks games this season have been one-goal games in the final minute.

All things considered, Quenneville was relatively pleased to have come away with a point in six of those seven games, despite the power outage.

“We’re having a tough time finding the back of the net,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “With that being said, we’ve got to muscle these games out, win them 2-0, 2-1, 1-0. That’s the mind-set we have to have when we’re not scoring goals.”

Quenneville, a defensive-minded coach whose style dictates that offensive chances should spring from responsible defensive plays, said he’ll take measures to try to jumpstart the offense.

But he wasn’t happy about it.

“We’ll look at our lines — we need some offense,” he said, before punctuating his next statement with his fist. “And I don’t like coaching offensively.”

The game couldn’t have started any better for the Hawks, but that’s nothing new. They continued their recent trend of dominating the early going, taking the first six shots of the game in less than three minutes. Then, at the 7:42 mark of the first period, Brandon Pirri gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead as Marian Hossa got the puck and set him up for a quick one-timer from the left circle.

It was the first NHL goal in nine career games for Pirri — who still wears a Rockford IceHogs shirt under his uniform and apparently had to borrow Bryan Bickell’s No. 29 windbreaker jacket for his intermission interview. He’s the second Hawks player to get his first career goal this season, following Joakim Nordstrom a week earlier.

The lead didn’t last long. Five seconds after Jonathan Toews took a slashing penalty at 10:09, Michal Handzus lost a faceoff in the Hawks zone, Jay Bouwmeester took a shot from the point and David Backes tipped it past Corey Crawford (26 saves) to tie the score at 1-1. It snapped a streak of nine straight successful penalty kills for the Hawks, who struggled mightily in that area in the first few games of the season.

In a scary moment early in the second period, Barret Jackman smushed Patrick Kane into the wall, with Kane’s head driven into the top of the boards — an eerily similar hit to the one St. Louis’ Maxim Lapierre put on San Jose’s Dan Boyle on Tuesday night, sending Boyle off on a stretcher and Lapierre off with an indefinite suspension. Kane was down for a moment, but got up and even stayed on the ice for the ensuing power play, on which the Hawks came up empty.

Quenneville said he needed to take another look at the hit before commenting on it.

The Hawks took a 2-1 lead late in the second, though, when Niklas Hjalmarsson created a turnover and flipped a long pass to Marian Hossa, who skated in on Jaroslav Halak on a two-on-none with Patrick Sharp. Hossa kept it, shot it and scored it for a 2-1 Hawks lead.

But once again, the Blues responded — this time, with a fluky goal. Fifty-one seconds after Hossa’s goal, Bouwmeester’s shot from the point was redirected by Alexander Steen, and then hit off Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith’s stick and past Crawford for a 2-2 tie.

This time, the Hawks at least held firm in the third period — thanks largely to a few big stops by Crawford — and got the game to overtime to secure a point. After getting too aggressive and losing late in regulation last week in St. Louis, all five Hawks were below the dots in their own zone with 20 seconds to go, making sure history didn’t repeat itself.

But the Blues still came away with another two points — something that’ll surely stick with Quenneville until the teams’ next meeting on Dec. 28. The Hawks themselves, meanwhile, were more bothered by their one point than the Blues’ two.

“I don’t think we really care about them,” Crawford said. “We’re a little disappointed that we didn’t get the extra point tonight. We definitely could have won, but we didn’t.”


Twitter: @marklazerus

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