After tough loss, Hawks focus on positives
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St. Louis Blues' Alexander Steen, right, checks Andrew Shaw of the Blackhawks in their game Wednesday night in St. Louis. The Blackhawks come home with two games this weekend at the United Center.
The Blackhawks were back on the ice Thursday less than 24 hours after their stinging 3-2 loss at St. Louis, trying to pick through the positives.
"Here we are at .500 and we think we played three pretty good games," said coach Joel Quenneville, his team 1-1-1.
How it ended, with Alex Steen's goal off a 3-on-1 with 21.1 seconds left in regulation, was not one of the positives.
"Certainly there are a lot of positives that we exited that game with, but we left with a lot of frustration," Quenneville said. "Today's a new day and I think we learned that those type of games, we've got to get that game to overtime and the value of points — getting the 1 and getting the second one is the bonus."
An ill-timed pinch by Brent Seabrook was to blame for the 3-on-1 the other way with time winding down. The Hawks' top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell was attacking for the win when the play broke down.
"From what I remember we had the puck on the boards and won a battle," Kane said. "We were going to the net 3-on-2 and the next thing I know I turn around and it's a 3-on-1 the other way. I'm not really sure what completely happened. I just tried to get back as fast as I could."
Quenneville didn't want to put all the blame on Seabrook.
"The judgment there is let's get a point," Quenneville said. "Be smart and then go from there. Last minute of a game, last minute of a period, big shifts, top lines — let's make sure we do the right things.
"Nobody's happy with what happened, but as a team let's absorb that lesson collectively and apply it going forward."
Most Hawks agreed the 2 quick power-play goals by Kane and Toews were the bright spot. Kane scored moments after Maxim Lapierre got a penalty in the first period to make it 1-1, and Toews scored 15 seconds after a hooking penalty to Jaden Schwartz in the second period to tie the game at 2-2.
"Scoring quick, that was the biggest thing," Kane said. "We had 2 power-play goals in about 20 seconds of work. It was nice to strike quick. I think we've got enough talent and ability to do that. If there's an opportunity when things break down to take the puck to the net we have to do that instead of worrying about trying to set it up."
The Hawks have no time to dwell on the loss to the Blues with the Islanders coming to town on Friday followed by Buffalo on Saturday.
"There are lessons to be learned from that game, but we did some great things," Patrick Sharp said. "We've been there before. We have some experience in this locker room over the years protecting leads and getting it to overtime, especially in a tough building on the road."
Quenneville is looking forward to the weekend's challenge.
"I've liked how we played in the three games so far," Quenneville said. "I don't like the results, but I think going into this weekend there are some teams we're not familiar with. The Islanders have a lot of skill and a lot of guys who can do things offensively."
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