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updated: 4/4/2011 7:44 AM

Loss puts Hawks' playoff hopes in jeopardy

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  • The Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier right, celebrates with teammate Martin St. Louis after scoring Sunday night against the Blackhawks in the first period at the United Center.

      The Lightning's Vincent Lecavalier right, celebrates with teammate Martin St. Louis after scoring Sunday night against the Blackhawks in the first period at the United Center.
    Associated Press

  • Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford makes a save against the Lightning.

      Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford makes a save against the Lightning.
    Associated Press

 
 

The Blackhawks are looking like a team content to back into the playoffs -- if they get in at all.

There still are no guarantees the Hawks will even have the chance to defend the Stanley Cup, especially after they laid a second straight egg on home ice Sunday night.

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A week after dropping a critical home game to Anaheim at the United Center, the Hawks' offense was nowhere to be found in a 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay.

While the stat sheet said the Hawks outshot the Lightning 31-15, the reality was the majority of shots were about as difficult as Tampa goalie Mike Smith sees in a practice.

The Hawks have been shut out in two of the last three games and three times in their last eight.

The secondary scoring has dried up. Troy Brouwer has no goals in his last 21 games. Bryan Bickell 1 in his last 11. Michael Frolik none in his last 12. Tomas Kopecky 1 in his last nine.

You need a calculator to figure out the last time Jake Dowell, Fernando Pisani or Ryan Johnson scored.

"We're trying and everyone wants to score goals, that's the most fun part of the game," frustrated Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "One way or another, I think everyone has to take responsibility. It's not just one or two guys that have got to score the goals in here, it's everybody that can find a way and step up and take advantage of their opportunities.

"If guys in here are thinking that's not their role then they're mistaken. Everyone can chip in that way."

Since playing a wonderful game in all aspects last Monday at Detroit, the Hawks have lost 3-0 at Boston, got a fortunate shootout win over a woeful Columbus team on Friday and lost to Tampa Bay 2-0 at home.

These are desperate times for the Hawks with now only four games left on the schedule, but you wouldn't know it.

"We need more," coach Joel Quenneville said. "It's all got to come out. We have four games left and certainly we're looking for more. We're looking for more offense; we're looking for more strength in the puck area."

The Hawks still own the final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but their grip on eighth place is down to 1 point over Calgary and 3 over Dallas.

Fortunately for the Hawks, the Flames, who beat Colorado 2-1 on Sunday, have only two games left in the schedule.

An eight-place finish by the Hawks would earn them Vancouver in the first round, and the Canucks have been the best team in the NHL all season.

"It's not even about points," Toews said. "We want to prepare ourselves to be a team that goes beyond the first round regardless of who we play, whether we get home ice or not.

"When you get to the playoffs anything can happen, but you've got to be prepared for it. We've got to be pushing to be a better team."

The Lightning got a power-play goal from Vincent Lecavalier at 7:56 of the first period then sat back and played a trap the rest of the way, which the Hawks didn't work hard enough to solve.

"They play a frustrating game and you kind of know that," defenseman Briuan Campbell said. "We talked about it, but sometimes it's not easy to get around them."

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