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Blackhawks: Wrecks on the road
The Blackhawks' defense was five goals better than the last game, but the Hawks still came away without a victory.
Two days after suffering an embarrassing defeat, the Hawks put up a good fight Thursday night but ended up with their third straight loss, this time to the Phoenix Coyotes 4-2 before a crowd of 12,252 at Jobing.com Arena.
"The boys showed a lot of character and worked real hard, and we just came up a little short," Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said.
"The thing we wanted to do was work hard, battle and win a lot of the battles. We wanted to be physical and do the things we're capable of doing. I think we did a good job. A couple of mistakes here and there cost us the game."
Coming off Tuesday's night's 9-2 loss to the Kings in Los Angeles, the Hawks stayed in it Thursday against the Coyotes despite falling behind on first-period goals by Martin Hanzal and Craig Weller and a third-period score by former Hawk Radim Vrabata.
The Hawks got goals in the third period by Cam Barker and Kris Versteeg to pull close. Barker scored his first of the season at the 11-minute-31-second mark on a one-timer past Phoenix goalie Mikael Tellqvist off a nice feed from Versteeg.
"I thought we worked hard and stuck with it," Barker said. "[We had] a couple of mental lapses and a couple of chances that could have gone our way. We need to stick with it and stay positive, and good things will happen."
Versteeg scored his first career goal 7:02 later to make it 3-2 when he banked in a shot off a Phoenix defenseman while the Hawks had a six-on-five advantage because goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was out of the net for an extra attacker.
"It's not as sweet if you don't get the victory, but it's a pretty cool experience," said Versteeg, who was called up from Rockford on Wednesday to replace the injured Jonathan Toews.
The Hawks hit two posts and the crossbar in an effort to turn around their recent skid.
"We had some chances; some guys got robbed," Seabrook said. "All the credit to the Coyotes. They played a pretty good game. They got some great goaltending, and we just couldn't get it past him."
Phoenix's Fredrik Sjostrom scored into an empty net with 58 seconds left for the final margin.
Khabibulin was trying to rebound from Tuesday night, when he was pulled after giving up four goals on nine shots during the first period against the Kings. He was sharper Thursday, making 20 saves.
The Hawks dropped to 19-17-3 on the season and complete their three-game West Coast trip Friday night against the defending Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks.
"We played hard," Hawks coach Denis Savard said. "Unfortunately we didn't get the result we wanted, but our kids played a heck of a game. We kept battling and played right to the end. This is a game of breaks, and we hit lots of posts."