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Power play woes continue for Hawks
Trailing by two goals with less than four minutes left Saturday night, the Blackhawks had yet another power play and yet another chance to make something of the evening.
The players who weren't on the ice at that point were more notable than the ones who were.
Not on the ice: Martin Havlat, Tuomo Ruutu, Peter Bondra, Jeff Hamilton or Bryan Smolinski.
On the ice: Martin Lapointe, Michael Holmqvist, Craig MacDonald, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith.
By this point, it goes without saying that the Hawks didn't convert on that or any other power play in the game, failing in six attempts.
The Red Wings were 3 of 7 and won 6-3, handing the Hawks their fifth loss in a row, seventh in their last eight games and eighth in their last 10.
"They deserved to be out there," coach Denis Savard said of his makeshift unit.
Unsaid is that the others didn't.
Not only did the Hawks fail on six power plays, they also didn't come through on a two-minute two-man advantage for the last 1:25 of the second period and first 35 seconds of the third.
"That was basically the game right there," Havlat said. "We didn't play very well. We didn't get many chances."
The Hawks ended up with only three shots on goal during the two minutes.
"Those 5-on-3s, you have to find a way to score," Savard said.
After Seabrook opened the scoring 5:18 into the game, the Red Wings scored three unanswered goals, the last two on the power play.
The teams then traded goals until Kris Draper scored an empty-netter with 17 seconds left.
"If we played the whole game like we did the third period, with a sense of urgency, we'd have more chances to win," goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin said. "For some reason, we don't stick with the structure. We definitely have to get more focused."
Defenseman Adrian Aucoin was out of the lineup again, this time with a sore groin. Aucoin missed 11 games with a groin problem and was hampered by it most of last season. He has played in only 64 of a possible 126 games because of injuries or, in one game last week, poor play. ... With Aucoin out of the lineup, Lapointe wore the "C" as captain. Players are supposed to receive letters based on work ethic and leadership. But Ruutu, whom Savard has lauded for his work ethic all season, didn't wear one Saturday while Smolinski, whom Savard said last week had to play "harder and better," wore an "A" as assistant captain along with Havlat. ... Adam Burish was also out of the lineup Saturday because of an infected, swollen elbow. ... Bondra had only two shifts in the third period and didn't play the last 17 minutes. Hamilton had just one shift in the third.