For the Blackhawks, so much of this early season has been like the movie "Groundhog Day."
Get a lead early in the game and play great for two periods, try to protect that lead in the third and inevitably give up the tying goal and lose in overtime.
The script played out again Thursday as the Vancouver Canucks ran the Hawks' winless streak to seven games with a 3-2 overtime victory that came with a goal in the third and a Sami Salo game-winner 2 minutes 59 seconds into overtime.
"I've said it before: We sat back in the third period and it's cost us points," winger Mark Bell said.
Bell put the Hawks on the board before the sellout crowd of 18,630 were all in their seats28 seconds into the game.
In a period in which every little tug, pull and push was called a penalty, the Hawks made it 2-0 at 15:26 when Bryan Berard scored on a power play.
In the first period, there were 12 penalties calledsix on each teamwith NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman on hand watching his two-referee system at work.
Vancouver cut the lead in half in the second when Craig Anderson overplayed a shot from Brent Sopel and stumbled trying to get back into the net. He never got back in position before Ed Jovanovski fired a shot past him.
Still, through two periods the Hawks had played as good a road game as a team can play, especially considering Vancouver came in unbeaten in nine home games. The Hawks outshot the Canucks 27-14 in the third.
But, as has been the case, the third was a different story.
"You don't want to be the guy to make the mistake to cost your team two points," Berard said. So instead of trying to get the two-goal lead back, the instinct is to try to protect the one-goal lead.
The Canucks outshot the Hawks 12-2 in the third and got the equalizer when Bryan Allen fired a shot over Anderson at 5:59 of the period. Todd Bertuzzi did all the heavy lifting to set up the goal, however.
Bertuzzi started by running over Steve Sullivan behind the net, then shook off Brett McLean and went toward the net. McLean had to pull down Bertuzzi, but the puck went to Allen and he didn't miss.
Bertuzzi played more than 10 minutes in the third period after logging just 12 minutes in the first two periods combined.
"He's a big strong horse," the Hawks' Scott Nichol said. "That's why he gets the big bucks."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times