The Blackhawks are losing games they believe they should be winning, and as a result frustration is beginning to set in.
Despite outshooting the Atlanta Thrashers and seemingly controlling much of the play, the Hawks fell 3-2 before a crowd of 15,789 Saturday night at the United Center. The loss was the Hawks' third in a row and dropped their record to 5-6.
Patrick Kane said. "We just have to finish our chances."
After Atlanta took a 1-0 lead at 10 minutes 6 seconds of the first period on Vyacheslav Kozlov's power-play goal, Kane was able to finish a chance he had to score his fourth goal of the season to tie it 1-1.
The rookie fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff dot that beat Thrashers goalie Johan Hedberg low to his glove side 5:08 into the second period. Fellow rookie Jonathan Toews and Jason Williams assisted on the score. It was Toews' fifth assist of the season and extended his points streak all nine of the NHL games in which he has played.
"We need to have better starts and get that first goal in the next couple of games because that's going to help a lot," Kane said. "I think luck's going to come our way, and hopefully we'll start finishing our chances."
The Hawks outshot Atlanta 31-22, but Ilya Kovalchuk and Kozlov had third-period goals that were the difference.
Kovalchuk's scored his sixth of the season on a breakaway when he picked up a loose puck at the red line, skated in on Hawks goalie Patrick Lalime and sent a shot between Lalime's pads to make it 2-1 early in the third.
Kozlov scored his second of the night on the power play when Kovalchuk found him alone in front of the net and Kozlov put it past Lalime for his fourth goal.
The Hawks cut it to 3-2 on Williams' power-play goal with 1:09 remaining. With Atlanta's Garnet Exelby in the penalty box for slashing and Lalime out of the net for an extra attacker, Williams fired a shot from the point for his fourth goal.
After the goal, Hedberg drew a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. So the Hawks finished the last minute on the power play with six skaters against four but couldn't tie it.
"We're going through a little adversity," Williams said. "I thought we were pretty good throughout the game, but there were still times when they took the game to us. We just have to make sure we battle a little harder."
"Overall again we played a strong game," Hawks coach Denis Savard said. "We're just snakebit right now and not scoring. We missed some great opportunities."
Hedberg, playing in place of injured Atlanta starter Kari Lehtonen, was strong throughout but especially in the first period as he stopped Rene Bourque on a short-handed chance with 7:51 remaining and a bit more than a minute later again came up big when he made a nice save on a Patrick Sharp chance.
"In the first period he must have looked behind him three or four times," Savard said. "We have to stay with it. It's frustrating in a sense but at the same time we can't get frustrated—we have to stick with the program here."
THRASHERS 3, BLACKHAWKS 2