With only 12 games left in the regular season, another blown lead in the third period has to concern the Blackhawks just a little.
The Hawks took a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes against St. Louis on Thursday at the United Center only to fall behind by a goal. Viktor Stalberg tied it with 4:29 to play, but the Hawks lost 4-3 in a shootout on Kevin Shattenkirk's goal in the sixth round.
“It's happened a lot lately,” Hawks winger Bryan Bickell said of the third-period meltdowns. “I think we just need to keep it simple. I don't know if the bounces aren't going our way right now, but those mistakes that are coming between the blue lines, we need to fix them.”
The Hawks got goals from Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa in the shootout while the Blues got goals from Chris Stewart, Andy McDonald, Tomas Steen and Shattenkirk.
“I just didn't feel that great on the shootout,” Hawks goalie Corey Crawford said. “It was a weird game. I think we controlled most of it. The positive thing is we were able to bounce back and get a point out of it.”
Crawford disagreed with the suggestion that teams are starting to take it to the Hawks late in games.
“I don't think teams are outplaying us by any means,” Crawford said. “We've just got to find a way to shut them down. It's just frustrating giving up another lead and then having to battle back to tie it. I think in a perfect world we'd be able to shut them down and finish that game 2-1.”
The Blues got 2 goals from their fourth line, with Adam Cracknell getting both of them.
Cracknell made it 1-0 in the first period when he blistered a shot off Brent Seabrook's stick and past Crawford.
The Hawks went ahead 2-1 in the second period on goals by Toews at 3:28, his 18th of the season, and Brandon Saad at 5:45 with an assist from Toews.
The Blues got it back to 2-2 at 3:30 of the third period when Michal Rozsival turned the puck over at the St. Louis blue line and Chris Porter fed Cracknell for the breakaway goal.
David Backes put the Blues back ahead at 7:06 of the third period when he tapped in a rebound for his fourth goal of the season. Backes had been without a goal in 14 games with just 1 in his last 23.
Stalberg's late goal was his first in 15 games.
The Hawks outshot the Blues 33-19 through regulation. Both teams had 3 shots in overtime with St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott coming up big.
Handzus played his first game with the Hawks and was plus-1 in 12:50 of ice time. He won 10 of 14 faceoffs.
“That's the lesson learned: Even with the lead we have to push forward,” Handzus said. “Don't sit back.
I'm disappointed in the shootout. I was confident I was going to score and I didn't.”
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