On the eve of announcing the schedule of games to be televised from the United Center this season, the Hawks lost their third straight home game, falling 5-2 to the Nashville Predators in front of 12,086. The loss dropped the Hawks' record on home ice to 3-5 and 7-7 overall.
"If we want to take a step of being an elite team in this league, we have to realize how hard that is and have to realize the consistency we need to bring every night. We're showing flashes of it, but we're not consistent enough, and that's our next challenge as a hockey team."
The Hawks were coming off a 3-2 victory Saturday night in St. Louis but couldn't find comfort at home as Nashville jumped to a quick lead by scoring two goals in the first 3 1/2 minutes.
David Legwand scored when he was left alone in front of the net and beat Hawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin after 1 minute 23 seconds. Alexander Radulov made it 2-0 less than two minutes later when he took a pass from Marek Zidlicky and sent a one-timer past Khabibulin on the power play.
"We had a slow start and they scored a couple of goals, so we were playing from behind the whole game," Hawks forward Yanic Perreault said. "We need to learn from this, and next game we need to be ready the first few minutes and get everybody a couple of good shifts."
The Hawks cut the deficit to 2-1 when they scored with a two-man advantage at the 9:43 mark of the first period. With Zidlicky off for interference and Ryan Suter for tripping, Hawks rookie Patrick Kane maneuvered to the Nashville net and sent a pass to Robert Lang, who put a backhander past Chris Mason for his sixth goal of the season.
The Predators extended the lead to 3-1 when a pass by former Hawk J.P. Dumont found Martin Erat, who flipped it past Khabibulin with 1:39 left in the period.
At the beginning of the second period veteran backup Patrick Lalime replaced Khabibulin, who was starting for the second straight night.
Perreault scored his first goal of the season to bring the Hawks within 3-2 at 9:23 of the second. Rookie Dave Bolland stripped Nashville defenseman Dan Hamhuis of the puck and sent a pass to Perreault, who fired it past Mason.
Nashville regained its two-goal edge when Jordin Tootoo blasted a slap shot past Lalime for a 4-2 lead 4:20 into the third. Jason Arnott added an empty-net goal.
"We have to have urgency every minute, every shift and every battle," coach Denis Savard said. "If you don't, this is what happens in this league. You become inconsistent, and you don't win every night."