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Blackhawks fall to Predators in shootout
It's three games into the season and all the Blackhawks have to show is one point and a search for positives.
Monday night's 3-2 shootout defeat to the Nashville Predators in front of 21,712 at the United Center kept them winless, but a better effort than on the East Coast over the weekend earned them their first point.
The Predators' Rich Peverley and J.P. Dumont scored in the shootout past Cristobal Huet, while Dan Ellis stopped Patrick Kane and Martin Havlat as the Hawks dropped their third straight.
At this point, the Hawks will take any positives they can get.
"I think it was our best game of the three and it was frustrating that we couldn't get the two points on home ice," Hawks winger Patrick Sharp said. "When it comes down to a shootout, it can go either way.
"The important thing is we're getting better every game," added Sharp, whose second-period goal tied the game 2-2. "We have to stick together. This is a tough time. There are a lot of expectations on a lot of players in here and on the team as a whole. We have to really come together and pull through."
It took a five-on-three advantage, but the Hawks' power play finally got on track after failing to score in its first eight opportunities this season.
With Nashville's Ryan Suter (tripping) and Jerred Smithson (cross-checking) in the box, Kane sent a cross-ice pass to Havlat, who was camped by the left post, and the winger tipped it past Ellis for a 1-0 lead.
Nashville tied it 1-1 on a Shea Weber blast from just inside the blue line that deflected off Huet's shoulder and into the net.
Jonathan Toews gave the Hawks another power-play opportunity when he skated through all five Predators and was slashed by Kevin Klein as he got a shot off that Ellis stopped. That man advantage proved costly, however, as Klein scooped up a loose puck while coming out of the penalty box, skated in alone on Huet and fired it past the Hawks goalie.
"We're ticked off about our start, but [Monday] before we went out there we forgot about the first two games and we put that behind us and we battled our butts off for three periods," Toews said. "Sometimes it's tough to stay positive when nothing is going our way. As hard as you work it seems like everything's backfiring. It's just a time to stay positive."
Sharp tied the game 2-2 with a rebound goal 29 seconds into the second period. After a scoreless third, the Predators put the game away in the shootout.
"I'm disappointed because we had a chance to win and we didn't," Huet said. "I would have liked to help my team in the shootout."
Huet, making his second start of the season, made 25 saves while Ellis had 23.
"[Dan] Ellis made some great saves for us," said Dumont, a former Hawk. "Chicago is a tough team to beat with a lot of talented young players."
The Hawks go for their first win Wednesday night when they play host to Phoenix.