Bad hands have made short work of good intentions for the Blackhawks countless times this season, and it happened yet again Friday night.
The offensively challenged Hawks gave the Edmonton Oilers all they could handle at Rexall Place on the fifth stop of a seven-game road swing, but they came up wanting on the scoreboard 2-1.
Lots of try and plenty of sweat by Denis Savard's ham-handed outfit wasn't enough as the Hawks' inept attack, 30th-ranked power play and 32 saves by Edmonton's Dwayne Roloson did them in.
Same old story.
"Both teams played well," said Savard, who watched his team lose by one goal for the 18th time this season.
"In the NHL, that's the way it is. There are a lot of one-goal games. It's a fine line between getting the results you want and not getting them. We played hard, and we had enough chances to win."
The Hawks got their cracks at Roloson but got nothing until Martin Havlat added some drama on a power play with the Hawks' net empty with 32 seconds to play.
It was their first power-play goal in 15 attempts against the Oilers in the season series, but it was not enough against Roloson, who made Shawn Horcoff's goal stand up as the winner.
"The whole game, right until the last second, was pretty even," said Havlat, who has goals in five straight games.
"We did a good job, especially in the first period, but we weren't able to score. At the end, it was too late."
The Hawks went down 1-0 only 4 minutes 29 seconds into the game when Raffi Torres took a pass from Marc-Andre Bergeron and put a slap shot behind Nikolai Khabibulin from the left wing.
Despite a decent opening 20 minutesthe Hawks outshot the Oilers 14-12they hit the first intermission down 1-0.
Roloson kicked aside 11 more shots in the second period to keep it that way before Horcoff shoveled a loose puck past Khabibulin on a power play three minutes into the third period to make it 2-0.
"We have to find ways to score," said Bryan Smolinski, who got no sniff on his three shots.
"The effort is there. We're doing a lot of good things. I thought we really took the play to them when we had to. Our goaltending was great. In these types of games, the power play can make a difference. It won the game for them."
Havlat's score merely helped him keep up his pace. On a game-by-game basis, he has been as prolific as nearly anybody in the league.
The problem for Havlat is he hasn't played enough games.
With 41 points in 33 games and a five-game scoring streak, Havlat is on a roll again, as when he began the season with 13 points in his first seven games.
The Hawks' leading scorer despite missing 22 games with injuries, Havlat is averaging 1.25 points per game and has 15 points in his last 12 games.
The Hawks went 6-12-4 with Havlat out. At 15-15-3 with Havlat healthy, they haven't exactly been Stanley Cup contenders, but they certainly wouldn't be as hopelessly out of contention as they are at this point in the season.