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Said or not, offense stuck in slump
Jonathan Toews didn't have a word for the Blackhawks' recent lack of scoring, but he did know what not to call it.
"We don't consider ourselves in a slump," the Hawks captain said before Wednesday night's 2-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. "We never say that word."
Whatever the terminology, the Hawks haven't been scoring goals in bunches like they did much of the first half of the season. They have scored just 14 goals in their last eight games.
Wednesday's loss was the second straight for the Hawks, who hit the six-day All-Star break with a 25-12-8 record.
"We didn't come out playing the way we should have," Toews said afterward. "We had a goal set for ourselves for what we wanted to accomplish going into the break and I think maybe we were thinking about the break a little too much and it caught up to us."
The Hawks managed just three shots on goal in the first period, had four through 30 minutes and finished with 21 as Chris Mason recorded his second shutout of the season and 14th of his career.
The Blues, 3-0-1 this season against the Hawks, took a 1-0 lead with a power-play goal at the 18-minute-5-second mark of the first. With Hawks defenseman James Wisniewski in the box for a delay-of-game penalty, Jeff Woywitka sent a shot from the top of the right circle that got past Hawks goalie Cristobal Huet.
The Hawks did put the puck in the net early in the third period, but an apparent Patrick Kane goal was disallowed because the referee had blown the whistle. Kane hasn't scored in 12 games.
Keith Tkachuk gave the Blues a 2-0 lead at 7:28 of the third with a shot from in close that went through Huet's pads.
Martin Havlat banged a shot off the post two minutes later, but again the Hawks were denied.
"It's frustrating," said Hawks defenseman Brian Campbell, who had one shot on goal in a game-high 25:58 of ice time. "I think we need to be working a bit harder, skating a bit more. We've had chances but the pucks aren't going in.
"We're not bearing down on it. It's tough to score in this league. I don't think the effort is there to finish or get to some areas that we need to get to score goals."
Hawks rookie winger Kris Versteeg left the game during the second period with a hand injury and will be evaluated to see if he will participate in this weekend's YoungStars Game as part of the All-Star Game festivities in Montreal.
"We're disappointed with [Wednesday night's] game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was a disappointing effort and game. You have some games where you know you're bad … and that was one of them. There are certain games over the course of the year where nothing goes right."