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Tie leaves a bitter taste
As the Blackhawks boarded their charter flight to Chicago on Monday night, they thought not of the three out of four points they collected in two games in Florida, but of the fourth point they thought they should have had.
"This feels like a loss," Sergei Berezin said of the Hawks' 2-2 tie with the Florida Panthers.
It felt that way because the Hawks had what they thought was the game-winning, power-play goal in overtime waved off by referee Paul Stewart after he ruled that Kyle Calder interfered with Florida goalie Jani Hurme on Phil Housley's shot.
"Kyle didn't touch the goalie," coach Brian Sutter said. "You can call it whatever you want, but that's a fact. He never touched the goalie."
It was Stewart who waved off a Tampa goal midway through the second period Saturday night when a Tampa player bumped Hawks goalie Jocelyn Thibault. Both times, Stewart ruled the play incidental contact and didn't call a penalty.
"I thought I was far enough away [from the goalie]," Calder said. "I don't think I was interfering with him. We're battling in front, there's not a lot of room in there."
While the Hawks were upset that the goal was disallowed, the Panthers were upset that Ollie Jokinen was whistled for a hooking penalty 23 seconds into overtime.
"I think it was really tough call," Florida coach Mike Keenan said of the call by Marc Joannette. Keenan believed Joannette missed a call on Hawks defenseman Steve Poapst late in the third period. "That's what frustrates the players and everyone else involved."
Leading 2-1 early in the third period on goals by Steve Sullivan and Igor Korolev, the Hawks had a chance to put the game away when Peter Worrell was given a double-minor for high-sticking and Igor Ulanov took a cross-checking penalty. The Hawks had a two-man advantage for a full two minutes but didn't score.
"We had enough chances in the third period," Sutter said. "We had the 5-on-3 and two wide-open nets and missed them completely."
Five minutes after the failed 5-on-3, Lyle Odelein was whistled for interference and Jay Bouwmeester fluttered a shot past Thibault for his first NHL goal to tie the game at 2-2.
"I tried to look one way, it went in the other way," Thibault said. "It's my job to find the puck no matter how many guys are in front."