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updated: 1/11/2014 10:23 PM

Hawks change lines but fall to Canadiens in OT

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  • Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stops Montreal Canadiens' Daniel Briere during the second period Saturday in Montreal.

      Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stops Montreal Canadiens' Daniel Briere during the second period Saturday in Montreal.
    AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Paul Chiasson

 
 

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is not one to sit still during a losing streak, even if it's a modest two-game skid.

So Quenneville shook things up for Saturday's game against Montreal at the Bell Centre.

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The changes drew mixed results as the Hawks lost 2-1 in overtime on Andrei Markov's second goal of the night at 1:28 of the extra period.

The third straight loss spoiled a terrific night for Hawks goalie Corey Crawford, who made 36 saves in his return home.

"Corey kept us in the game," Quenneville told reporters. "He gave us a chance to get 2 points and certainly was a factor in us getting 1."

Crawford's best save was his incredible kick stop on Lars Eller on a rebound while without his stick in the second period. Crawford first stopped Brandon Prust with his blocker.

"I just kicked my leg out and luckily it just hit it," Crawford said.

"He was unbelievable," Marian Hossa said. "It's too bad we couldn't win it for him at the end."

Marcus Kruger and Bryan Bickell were promoted to the second line to play with Patrick Kane while Michal Handzus centered the third line for Brandon Saad and Kris Versteeg. Andrew Shaw was dropped to the fourth line to play with Brandon Bollig and Ben Smith.

"Over the course of the season you want to try different things, especially when things haven't gone the way you'd like over a certain stretch of games," Quenneville told reporters before the game. "You can usually generate some energy off it as well, so that's what we're looking for.

"Across the board we haven't had enough. That's what makes a team successful, so by switching our lines and trying new things offensively, we're hoping everyone responds."

The only line Quenneville didn't touch was the top line of Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Hossa.

Hossa got the only Hawks goal at 9:22 of the third period to make it 1-1, set up by Toews.

Markov had given the Canadiens a 1-0 lead at 12:54 of the second period on a shot that deflected past Crawford off defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson's stick.

"That's five games in a row we've had to play from behind," Quenneville said. "I think we're a better team when we're ahead."

On the overtime winner, Kane made a poor decision to bring the puck back into his own zone trying for a line change.

Shaw has 11 goals and 21 points in 45 games but has been struggling of late, going without a point in the last six games.

Shaw knows he needs to be better.

"I'm not making any excuses," he told reporters. "I haven't played with that aggressive, in-your-face, ratty style I'm known for these past few games, and that has to change. It's up to me to turn it around and get back to my game."

Quenneville was obviously hoping Kruger could help Kane get back on track. After getting a point in 26 of 27 games from Nov. 3 through Dec. 28, Kane has 1 assist in the last six games.

"As far as playing with different linemates, there haven't been too many switches or changes throughout the year," Kane said. "This is the first one I've really seen. It's exciting to play with new players."

• Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.

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