A strong start turned into a fizzle of a finish for the Blackhawks.
For the second time in a little more than a week the St. Louis Blues beat the Hawks on Thursday night at the United Center, this time 3-2 in a shootout.
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"Awful," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said in critiquing his team's performance. "I didn't like our game at all tonight. The first 12 minutes I liked, but after that … we just slowed down. We stopped getting it in behind them, getting it at the net -- we slowed ourselves right down.
"I didn't like our pace; we turned pucks over. I didn't like how we didn't get pucks to the net, didn't generate any offense after the first period."
The Hawks had 13 shots in the first period but just 16 the rest of the way, including overtime. T.J. Oshie scored the only goal in the shootout, while Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp came up empty against Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak.
That's six straight games in which the Hawks have failed to score a goal in the third period, yet they are 4-1-2.
"Is that what the number is?" Quenneville asked. "We've been getting points outside of the one game, so there's something OK there. But that's the reason we're not having a lot of production. We'll look at our lines.
"We need some offense, and I don't like coaching offensively."
Hawks goalie Corey Crawford made 26 saves, but he had no chance on Blues goals by David Backes and Alex Steen.
Backes scored on a tip-in at 10:14 of the first period, answering a goal by Brandon Pirri, his first in the NHL.
Steen's goal came 51 seconds after Marian Hossa put the Hawks ahead 2-1 in the second period. It was a double deflection, off Steen's stick up high then redirected into the net by Duncan Keith down low.
"I guess we're a little disappointed we didn't get the extra point tonight," Crawford said. "It was just another tight game against them. We could have won, but we didn't. It was just a hard-fought game. We'll get better."
Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester assisted on both goals with shots from the point.
"A couple tips at the net," Quenneville said. "That's what they do; they put pucks at the net, second opportunities or tip screen deflections, they score ugly goals, and we weren't willing to do that. There's a lot of loose stuff had we done that."
Pirri's first big-league goal came at 7:42 of the first period and made it 1-0. Pirri backed into an open area of ice the blasted a one-timer past Halak on a feed from Hossa.
"We've just got to stick with it for three periods," Pirri said. "We came out great in the first, and we've got to keep the momentum going into the second.
"It was a lot of fun (to score), maybe a little bittersweet because we didn't win. I waited a long time for that."
Hossa put the Hawks back ahead 2-1 at 17:22 of the second period when he got behind the St. Louis defense that was changing and beat Halak on a 2-on-0. Niklas Hjalmarsson flipped the puck out of his end to a streaking Hossa, who was with Sharp.
"We're two teams that seem to bring out the best in each other, and it was another great fought game that could've went either way," Backes said.
"I don't think we're scoring a lot of goals right now," Brent Seabrook said. "We're having a tough time finding the back of the net, but with that being said we've got to muscle these games out and win them 2-0, 2-1, 1-0. That's the mindset we have to have when we're not scoring goals."
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