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Blackhawks stumble out of break in 2-1 loss

Updated: February 27, 2014 10:51PM



NEW YORK — The Blackhawks nearly pulled off a miracle Thursday night that could’ve rivaled the ‘‘17 seconds’’ comeback in Game 6 against the Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.

They didn’t quite get there in a 2-1 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. But after coming oh-so-close to sending a ho-hum game into overtime in the last 12 seconds, the Hawks showed they’re still a team that plays best the more desperation sets in.

‘‘We were a little off,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘The timing, the passing and maybe looking for one extra play. It took us a long time to finally break it. But it was an interesting last couple of seconds.’’

Indeed it was. Heading toward their second consecutive 2-0 loss after 126 consecutive games without being shut out, the Hawks scored on newcomer Peter Regin’s goal with 11.6 seconds to go. What looked like consolation nearly turned into a miraculous recovery when Patrick Kane had a golden chance at a rebound in front of Cam Talbot but couldn’t connect in the final seconds.

‘‘I felt it,’’ Talbot said. ‘‘It felt like the longest 11 seconds in the world. I didn’t think they were going to get down the ice that quick.’’

For two-plus periods, they failed to put any real heat on Talbot, who was starting in place of resting Olympian Henrik Lundqvist. And Talbot, making his 16th NHL start but only his second since Jan. 21, made every key save right up to the final seconds. He stopped 31 of 32 shots, including 12 of 13 in the third period.

Derick Brassard scored on a rebound of his own miss with 9:46 left in the first period. It stayed 1-0 until Rick Nash beat Corey Crawford with a wrist shot for a 2-0 lead with 4:07 left in the third. Still, it came down to the final 11.6 seconds.

‘‘You’re just hoping you get a puck at the net, and we got a tremendous look at the net,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘It was one of those desperation [situations], just like the first [goal]. We’ve had some crazy finishes [recently], going back to the Boston game. This might have been crazier.’’

The Hawks looked like a team that had not played together in 20 days.

‘‘I don’t know — I think it was all right [for the first game back],’’ defenseman Duncan Keith said. ‘‘We did some good things. But, overall, I think we know we can be a lot better.’’

The Hawks (35-12-14) can’t blame it all on rust. They were ineffective offensively in a 2-0 loss to the Coyotes in the last game before the break — though Kane did not play in that game. If their offense depends on desperation to score, they’re in for a long home stretch. The Hawks were 0-for-3 on the power play.

‘‘I think you’re on to something,’’ Keith said. ‘‘I think we can have a little more net presence. Obviously, these goaltenders are good. We need to have those guys in front of the net, screening pucks. It’s tough enough to get the shot through. When we do [get them through], we have to have guys in front to screen them a little bit.’’

Email: mpotash@suntimes.com

Twitter: @MarkPotash



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