Blackhawks leave another point on the table with a 2-1 SO loss - Dallas News |

Blackhawks leave another point on the table with a 2-1 SO loss

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

On Saturday night the Blackhawks started the difficult part of their West Coast swing in San Jose. The Sharks came away with the extra point as they won 2-1 in a shootout.

The effort from the Hawks shouldn't be questioned, although their passing could have been better.

With the loss, Chicago's record versus the Pacific Division stands at 12-0-6.

Unfortunately for the Blackhawks some trends can hold true for the entire season. The Hawks are still without a goal in OT and haven't been great in the shootout. Because of their struggles they have often left a point on the table and that will likely have consequences.

As it stands, Anaheim leads the Western Conference with 85 points, which is five points better than Chicago. The Blues trails the Hawks by one point in the Central Division but have played three fewer games. If the Hawks were better in OT they could be in much better shape in the standings.

The opening period was scoreless but an entertaining one.

San Jose's GM Doug Wilson remodeled his club on the fly last season before the trade deadline. Michal Handzus and other older, slower players were shipped out and Wilson was able to make his team faster.

In the past the Blackhawks had a significant matchup edge over the Sharks. Now, San Jose has gotten younger and quicker and they pose more of a problem.

Through forty minutes both clubs couldn't dent the twine.

The Blackhawks had three power plays and a total of only three shots with the man advantage.

As the game wore on the Chicago passing was not as sharp, especially on the power play. After each failed power play attempt the Sharks seemed to gain some momentum but the Hawks took their best punch.

Corey Crawford was sharp once again and his counterpart Antti Niemi seemed to be fighting the puck early.

Niemi was good enough to frustrate his former team and played a big game. Through two periods the contest was still scoreless and the shots were 22-21 in favor of San Jose.

In the third frame the Hawks went on the power play and this time sloppy passing turned into a goal against. Patrick Sharp made a poor outlet pass and San Jose turned the play. Joe Pavelski got a step on Duncan Keith and put the puck up and past Crawford.

After the Sharks shorthanded tally the Hawks still had time, 1:33 of power play time, left and they cashed in.

Brent Seabrook had a good keep in and then Kris Versteeg dished a beautiful pass to Brandon Saad who tied the score.

This was a game neither Crawford or Niemi deserved to lose.

Once again the Blackhawks stalled in OT and then all three Sharks scored in the shootout.

Joel Quenneville kept his shootout order the same as it has been and maybe it wouldn't have mattered as the Sharks were perfect.

Jonathan Toews scored but Sharp failed and Patrick Kane never had a chance to shoot. Sharp has cooled off and had a rough night.

It will be interesting to see how long Quenneville keeps Kane in the third slot.

Crawford's record in shootouts is now 5-5 on the season. Throughout the game Crawford was about as sharp he could be but the shootout was his demise.

Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton scored beautiful goals and now the Hawks will head to Los Angeles for a Monday night encounter.

Bryan Bickell was a healthy scratch again, my guess is he will back in the lineup to face the Kings.

Can't say how much Bickell is still hampered by his recent leg injury. What is more certain, everyone who follows the Blackhawks closely has been clued in Bickell has a confidence problem. A professional athlete having a confidence issue isn't good. Combined that with the weight of a hefty new contract and Bickell has some issues to work through.

The Kings have been in a severe goal scoring drought and have lost three in a row. Although LA is only 2-7-1 in their last 10 games they should be ready for a big effort against the Blackhawks.

I will be back on Tuesday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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