No panic in Hawks after another tough loss
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It hasn't been often over the past four-plus seasons that the Blackhawks have had to try and explain a three-game losing streak.
But that's the reality of their situation following Friday's 3-2 loss to Anaheim in a shootout at the United Center.
Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said this is no time to panic.
"You can't overreact to it," Toews said. "You've just got to keep improving on the little things we do well as a team and know that if we keep working eventually we're going to get the breaks.
"A lot of the wins we've had lately, especially on that road trip, were close games and we found a way to win, whether it was protecting a close game where we had the lead coming back from a goal or two. The last few games those bounces haven't gone our way."
Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri scored in the shootout for Anaheim against Antti Raanta, while Toews scored the Hawks' lone goal. Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane failed to score against Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville was mostly upset with the power-play goal his team allowed Ryan Getzlaf to score in the second period with one second left on a penalty to Johnny Oduya for closing his hand on the puck.
At the time it gave Anaheim a 2-1 lead. It was the only occasion all game that the Hawks found themselves short-handed.
"I thought that would be the end of it as we hit rock bottom," Quenneville said. "They scored with one second to go. One power play, but it's been a disaster, and we've got to go from there right up."
The Hawks have played a lot of hockey lately, but nobody wanted to use that as an excuse. They've already played three games since returning from their seven-game, 14-day circus road trip.
"We know what it's all about and it's something that you've got to expect," Toews said. "You know it's not going to be easy. You're not going to go out there flying with legs like you haven't played a game in a week, obviously, so you've got to take that into consideration when you prepare yourself to play, but it's no excuse."
It was 1-1 after a mostly slow first period.
"It was like a chess match early," Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said.
Corey Perry made it 1-0 for the Ducks at 3:20, redirecting a pass from Getzlaf past Raanta while battling Oduya. Perry had dropped his stick but picked it up in time to get it on Getzlaf's pass.
The lead lasted only 45 seconds as Ben Smith scored his fourth goal of the season. Smith, centering the third line, put a shot through Hiller after jumping on the ice for Michal Handzus.
The teams traded power-play goals in the second period to make it 2-2 going to the third.
After Getzlaf scored at 10:05, Kris Versteeg tied it at 17:48 when he had a shot blocked in the slot but stayed with it and put a second chance shot past Hiller. It was Versteeg's fourth goal of the season and second with the Hawks, breaking a nine-game drought.
It was the fourth game in a row in which the Hawks allowed a power-play goal, a problem Quenneville addressed before the game.
"You look at it and you don't want to accentuate it, but they're going in," Quenneville said. "I still think there are some things technically we've got to do better. You want to be out there and you want to make sure there is some cohesiveness and get some confidence."
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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