Still in reverse gear

SportsSoccerNHLJason StrudwickSteve SullivanEdmonton OilersTommy Salo

The NHL record for consecutive losses on the road is 38, so even though it's possible the Blackhawks will not win another away game this season, the schedule will deny the Hawks a run at the record until 2004-05.

Mercifully, the Hawks have only 13 road games left.

The streak is now 19 after Thursday night's 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. The Hawks have the fourth-longest road losing streak in NHL history, behind Ottawa (38), Washington (37) and the old California Golden Seals (24).

Showing a knack for making even the worst special teams look great, the Hawks' power-play unit didn't score and gave up two short-handed goals--the 10th and 11th this season--to tie Pittsburgh for most in the league.

The Hawks were 0-for-6 against the 30th-ranked penalty-killing unit in the league.

Shawn Horcoff's short-handed goal, in which Hawks goalie Craig Anderson poked the puck to a diving Bryan Berard, who kicked it into the net, tied the game in the second period.

The Hawks had taken the lead 45 seconds into the game when a Berard shot went off Kyle Calder's skate and past Edmonton goalie Tommy Salo.

The Hawks could have gone into the dressing room after the first period with a bigger lead were it not for the play of Salo.

"He was borderline unconscious," Hawks coach Brian Sutter said.

Salo dived and batted a shot from Steve Sullivan out of the air before it could go into an empty net midway through the first period, then made another fantastic save to deny Mark Bell in the final minute.

Salo also made a great stop off Berard early in the second period. He also got a little lucky. Jason Strudwick had a rare short-handed breakaway and flipped a shot off the post.

With Salo shutting the door, the Hawks couldn't keep pushing.

"It's only human when you're on the bench and you're not scoring goals to think we should be up 4-0 and here we go again," Berard said. "Those are things we need to learn. It's frustrating."

Thursday was Strudwick's first game since injuring his knee Jan. 18 against Los Angeles. With Strudwick back in the lineup, rookie defenseman Lasse Kukkonen was scratched and is likely to be sent back to Norfolk soon.

After tying the game, Edmonton took control with a pair of goals in a span of 1 minute 6 seconds. Ex-Hawk Ethan Moreau skated unmolested through the middle of the ice, then flipped a backhand that Georges Laraque deflected past Anderson for his first goal of the season.

Horcoff then got his second when he tipped a Ryan Smyth shot over Anderson to make it 3-1 going into the third period.

"They got a little momentum," Anderson said. "It was a good tip on the second goal, and the guy went over my head on the third."

Ryan VandenBussche left the game early in the first period after being drilled by Oilers defenseman Igor Ulanov. Team officials didn't disclose the nature of VandenBussche's injury.

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