What looked like a potentially special through most of Friday's game in Dallas went south in a hurry for the Blackhawks.
After imploding in the final five minutes and losing Martin Havlat for two to three weeks in Dallas, the Hawks watched another two-goal lead disappearfor the sixth time in just eight games this seasonin dropping their second home game.
The St. Louis Blues, the worst team in the NHL last season, picked up their third victory with a 4-3 triumph over the Hawks before an announced crowd of 13,254 at the United Center.
Two of the three St. Louis victories have come against the Hawks and in both they have reversed two-goal deficits.
"Welcome to the new NHL," Hawks coach Trent Yawney said after another lengthy meeting with some of his veteran players. "It happens, there is a lot of parity in the league."
Yawney said he wanted to "pick the brains" of his leadership after the loss.
"They gave me the answers I needed," Yawney said, declining to reveal his questions.
On a night in which they learned they will be without Havlat because of a sprained right ankle suffered late in Friday's loss, the Hawks started strong.
Rene Bourque and Radim Vrbata had goals within 13 seconds of each other to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead at 6 minutes 41 seconds of the first period.
But the Hawks have been like the speed horse in a race that sets the early pace then falters down the wire.
"We can't seem to put 60 minutes together," goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin said.
Defenseman Duncan Keith, who played a season-low 16:14 and was a minus-2, said perhaps the Hawks starts aren't as fast as they appear.
"I think sometimes when we get those leads we don't really deserve them," Keith said.
If there has been a common thread in the roller-coaster results, it has been shoddy coverage in their own end. On the Blues third goal, by Bill Guerin, the Hawks were trapped in their own end for nearly a minute chasing the puck.
Michal Handzus, who left the game late in the third period with what Yawney described as a Charlie Horse, tied the game late in the second period before Peter Cajanek scored three minutes into the third period for the game-winner.
"We have to dig a little deeper and keep it simpler," Yawney said.
With a scarcity of games in the next couple of weeks, Havlat may miss only five to seven games, assuming he doesn't have any setbacks while recovering from his ankle injury. ... Havlat was placed on injured reserve and the Hawks called up winger Brandon Bochenski and defenseman Danny Richmond from Norfolk. Both were in the lineup with Bochenski taking Havlat's spot on a line with Michal Handzus and Radim Vrbata. Richmond was in the lineup at the expense of Jassen Cullimore. "He has to play better," Yawney said of Cullimore. "He was brought here to be one of the core guys. He's a much better player than he has shown."
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