Skip to content
Sutter tinkers, Hawks still fall
Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter said the quality he most admired about his young team is that "we don't go away. We stay there and stay there."
While the Hawks may not go away, they don't do a whole lot wherever they are.
Their winless streak grew to nine Wednesday night with a 3-2 loss to the Sharks. The Hawks are dangerously close to the bottom of the Western Conference, just one point ahead of Columbus and Phoenix.
The Hawks have just one point to show for the first four games of this trip with two more to play, Friday in Anaheim and Saturday in Los Angeles.
Hoping for some sort of a scoring spark, Sutter juggled his lines yet again this season.
The ABC line of Tyler Arnason, Mark Bell and Kyle Calder was reunited, and Bell got his first significant time on the power play.
"When your power play isn't going well and you're not on it, you want to be on it," Bell said. "You want to make a difference. I feel that I can do that."
But like just about everything else, the new combinations failed to spark anything. The power play, sinking like a rock in the NHL standings, failed again against the Sharks.
Through Wednesday, the Hawks have converted on just three of their last 49 chances with the man advantage. But the Hawks barely created any dangerous chances on the power play or on even strength.
San Jose took the lead early in the second period with a nearly total breakdown by the Hawks. Two forwards collided with one another at the San Jose blue line, giving the Sharks a four-on-two break.
Michael Leighton came far out of his crease and overplayed Christian Ehrhoff, while defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev dove to break up a pass and took himself out of the play. Ehrhoff slid a pass to Nicholas Dimitrakos for an empty-net tap-in.
The Hawks countered just 44 seconds later. Igor Radulov fought off a check behind the San Jose net and found a pinching Nathan Dempsey. Dempsey's shot came right back to him and he shoveled the rebound past Vesa Toskala.
But San Jose took what these days is an insurmountable two-goal lead late in the second period. Alyn McCauley found Nils Ekman from behind the goal, and Ekman picked the short side with Leighton, Bryan Berard and Brett McLean all standing by to make it 2-1.
Three minutes later, Ehrhoff scored his first NHL goal when he slipped a shot through Leighton's pads on a two-on-one at 18:18 of the second period.
At 17:11 in the third period, Scott Nichol's goal pulled the Hawks within the final margin.