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At least Hawks get a point
Officially, the Blackhawks' losing streak is now at eight games.
But Thursday night's 2-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils in a shootout wasn't a total defeat for the Hawks, who picked up a point for the first time since Oct. 18.
"A huge point," center Bryan Smolinski said.
If the Hawks are going to make their upcoming five-game trip mean something, they are going to have to pick up four points when they host St. Louis on Friday night and Columbus on Sunday night.
Goals from Zach Parise and Brian Gionta gave the Devils their second straight shootout victory. Both roofed backhanders past Hawks goaltender Brian Boucher.
Rene Bourque and Michael Holmqvist missed their attempts in the Hawks' first shootout of the season.
The game was tied 1-1 after 60 minutes in which the only goals were fluky ones in the first 10 minutes of the game.
New Jersey got on the board first when Johnny Oduya's dump-in took a bad bounce off the end boards and went right in front of the net. Boucher had gone behind the net to play the puck and couldn't get back before Michael Rupp scored 2 minutes 31 seconds into the game.
The Hawks tied it at 8:55 of the first when Tuomo Ruutu's shot deflected off the leg of defenseman Colin White and past goalie Martin Brodeur. The goal was Ruutu's first since Jan. 5, when he scored against Vancouver.
"It's nice to get a goal," Ruutu said. "I haven't had too many the last couple of years."
After a New Jersey Nets basketball game here Wednesday, the ice conditions were subpar, but that may have saved the Hawks a point.
In the final 30 seconds of regulation, New Jersey had a two-on-one. But the puck was fluttering, and Patrik Elias' shot went into the side of the net.
"It looked like the puck was bouncing all over the place," Hawks coach Trent Yawney said.
Boucher had another strong game, particularly in the first period. He made a sprawling save on Elias and two strong stops on Sergei Brylin.
Games like Thursday's are the kind Yawney envisions playing until Martin Havlat returns.
"To play against a team like this, it can basically jump-start you," Yawney said. "You have to be patient and play smart with the puck because that's how they're going to play."
Bad weather in the New York area created long delays for travelers Wednesday, and the Hawks weren't immune to it. Instead of flying into Newark airport, which had limited operations throughout the day, the Hawks were diverted to White Plains, N.Y. Their 30-mile bus ride from White Plains to their New Jersey hotel took 2½ hours.
Yawney shuffled his defensive pairs a bit. Lasse Kukkonen and Brent Seabrook have been the Hawks' most consistent pairing this season, but Kukkonen was with Jim Vandermeer while Seabrook skated with Duncan Keith.
Ruutu picked up his first penalty of the season, interfering with Brodeur midway through the second period and nullifying a Hawks power play. He picked up his second penalty of the year midway through the third.
Devils star center Scott Gomez missed his third straight game with a groin injury.
The shootout was the Devils' fourth of the season.
The Hawks were 0-for-4 on the power play and now are scoreless in their last 24 power-play attempts, dating back to Michal Handzus' goal in the second period of a 4-3 loss to St. Louis on Oct. 21.
The Hawks killed off all eight New Jersey power plays, including a two-man advantage for 41 seconds in the second period.