The Blackhawks had read this book too many times before.
Play well, get the lead, lose it late, go to overtime and either tie or lose it there.
Thursday night at the United Center, however, they wrote a new ending.
Mark Bell scored the game-winner in overtime as the Hawks snapped their 14-game winless streak with a 4-3 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
"That's a pretty big monkey to get off our backs," Bell said. "We were finding ways to lose games and at this time of the year, you need to find ways to win them."
The winner came just 15 seconds into overtime when Bell took a pass from Scott Nichol at center ice and busted in on Curtis Joseph. Detroit defenseman Jason Woolley rode Bell like a steer for the last 30 feet and knocked Bell off balance, but he was able to direct the puck to the far side past Joseph.
"I just tried to get it on net," Bell said.
Overtime was needed after Brendan Shanahan took a cross-ice feed from Pavel Datsyuk and ripped a shot past Michael Leighton with 1:08 left to tie the game 3-3.
"It was a nice pass," Leighton said. "[Shanahan] put it in a perfect spot."
The Hawks took a 3-2 lead at 13:29 of the third when Tuomo Ruutu scored his second goal of the season, wristing a shot through a Bell screen and past Joseph.
For whatever reason, the Red Wings bring out the best in the Hawks, and this game was no exception.
Before a less-than-sellout crowd of 18,489, the Hawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period.
Playing a second straight game with Brett McLean and Steve Sullivan, Tyler Arnason quickly redirected a pass from McLean over the left shoulder of Joseph just 3:47 into the game to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.
The goal came after Leighton made a sparkling save on Kirk Maltby.
"Goalies are supposed to do that once in a while," Hawks coach Brian Sutter said.
They increased the lead at 16:00 when Igor Radulov, standing right at the top of Joseph's crease, tipped in an Igor Korolev pass.
But the way things are going for the Hawks--and with the arsenal the Red Wings have--it was just a matter of time before Detroit got itself back into the game.
Kris Draper walked around from behind the net and threw the puck toward the net. It hit Leighton and found its way through his pads to make it 2-1 at 15:57 of the second.
Datsyuk, who's emergence has made the loss of Sergei Fedorov easier for the Wings to withstand, tied the game early in the third period with a rebound of his own shot.
"As a team, we tried to stay as positive as we could," defenseman Nathan Dempsey said. "We tried to maintain confidence in ourselves and stick to our game plan."
All turned out well in the end, though, giving Sutter a chance for a good night's sleep for a change.
"I despise losing, so you can imagine how much sleep I've gotten lately," he said. "It hasn't been easy."
The night did have it's downside, though. Defenseman Bryan Berard re-injured his groin and did not make the trip to Dallas. The Hawks recalled Burke Henry from Norfolk.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times