Hawks' 'O' woes continue

ColumbusColumbus Blue JacketsNathan DempseyTodd MarchantSteve Sullivan

Blackhawks winger Steve Sullivan found something positive in Thursday night's 2-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I think in the first three games, we didn't get that many scoring chances, and the scoring chances we got weren't that good," Sullivan said.

"Tonight we had a lot of scoring chances."

Yet, for those keeping track, it's four goals in four games for the Hawks, who fell to 1-3 after their third straight loss.

The defeat began a stretch of six of seven games on the road without Alex Zhamnov and possibly Eric Daze, two of their best players.

"We have to try to find a way [to score]," Sullivan said. "I thought tonight we were close, we were really close."

Columbus still outshot the Hawks 36-31.

"You'll get your offense," coach Brian Sutter promised. "We can talk about not scoring all we want, we had our chances. How many times did we miss the net in the second period?

Many.

"I'm one of those guys who can't stand hitting the goalie," Sullivan said. "I'm trying to pick corners, I'm trying to stay on the perimeter, so you miss the net.

"If there are guys going to the net, sometimes you have to suck it up and throw it in there."

Center Tyler Arnason and Nathan Dempsey each had five shots to lead the Hawks. Pavel Vorobiev had a strong game, playing with Arnason, and had three shots.

Sullivan picked up his first point of the season, assisting on Brett McLean's goal in the third period that cut Columbus' lead by half.

The Blue Jackets scored both their goals off the power play with Rick Nash—on the verge of becoming a superstar in the league—scoring the first and assisting on Todd Marchant's goal on the second.

For the third time in four games, the Hawks gave up more power plays than they had. Columbus had seven Thursday while the Hawks had just three.

"We're moving the puck better on the power play than at any point last year," Sutter said.

While that may be the case, with all the puck movement, the Hawks not converted a power play in three of four games.

With the Hawks playing mind-numbingly low-scoring games, even one power-play goal can be the difference between winning and losing.

The Hawks were near the bottom in the league on the power play last year and after four games are 3-for-15 with the man advantage.

"We have to get pucks through," Sutter said.

The Hawks know they'll be without Zhamnov until at least early December and when Daze comes back and how effective he'll be is anyone's guess.

Zhamnov had back surgery Thursday and Daze is having his back examined.

While only four games have been played, it can get late very early.

"The next couple weeks can definitely make or break the season," Arnason said.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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