In a bit of symmetry courtesy of the NHL schedule-makers, the Blackhawks opened the second half of the season the same way they started it.
The Hawks took on the Rangers, whom they faced opening night in New York, in a battle of Original Six teams Friday night. In the end, the result was the same.
Chris Drury scored 2 minutes 23 seconds into overtime to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory before a crowd of 22,624 at the United Center.
The defeat snapped the Hawks' two-game winning streak, but they did pick up their 56th point of the season with the extra-session loss.
The game was one of missed opportunities for the Hawks, who failed to score during four of five two-man advantages.
"You try to take advantage of your opportunities, and we had lots of them," said Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who spent a game-high 9 minutes 58 seconds on the ice while on the power play.
"I've never had that many five-on-threes in a game before. You have to find a way, and you have to have that killer instinct to put it away."
Trailing 2-1 late in the third, the Hawks finally broke through during a five-on-three when Brent Seabrook cashed in to tie it.
However, an Andrew Ladd slashing penalty in overtime gave the Rangers the man advantage, and Drury tipped a Wade Redden shot past the Hawks' Nikolai Khabibulin for the winner 11 seconds later.
"We had five-on-threes for quite a substantial amount of time on the clock," said Hawks defenseman James Wisniewski, who was credited with six shots on goal.
"You have to give them credit. It's not like we weren't bombing away. We didn't bear down and bury it. I had probably a good six or seven shots on the five-on-threes, and I couldn't seem to find a hole."
Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was the difference, stopping 32 shots.
The Hawks took a 1-0 lead early in the first when Jonathan Toews scored after tipping a long shot by Kris Versteeg past Lundqvist.
A five-on-three advantage paid off for the Rangers when Drury tallied with Seabrook (tripping) and Cam Barker (fighting, two-minute instigator) in the box to tie it 1-1.
After Brandon Dubinsky scored midway through the third for the lead, the Hawks tied it 2-2 with 4:29 remaining when Seabrook fired a shot from inside the blue line past Lundqvist.
"This is a completely different team now than we were in the first game," Versteeg said. "We've come a long way in maturity. We're a lot more consistent, and we know what to do on a nightly basis to try to win."
The Hawks' roster has undergone minor tweaking since that initial game, with the biggest change at head coach, where Joel Quenneville replaced Denis Savard.
"If you look at opening night, we were kind of a group that was put together and no one really knew what the ice time would be or who was playing with whom," winger Patrick Kane said. "Once Joel came in, everything kind of jelled."Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times