CHICAGO -- Starting fast hasn't been a problem for the Blackhawks. Finishing strong is a different story.
The Hawks failed to notch a third-period goal for the sixth consecutive game and it cost them Thursday night in a 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues before a crowd of 21,169 at the United Center.
After twice taking leads -- in the opening and second periods -- the offense again stalled as the Blues snapped the Hawks' three-game winning streak when T.J. Oshie had the deciding score in the shootout.
"We did a good job in the first period but our second and third periods have to be better," veteran Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "We're having tough time finding the back of the net but we have to muscle these games out and win them 2-0, 2-1 (or) 1-0. That's the mindset we have to have when we're not scoring goals."
Oshie's winner came when he went forehand-backhand-forehand against goaltender Corey Crawford for the only score of the shootout to give the Blues their second victory over the Hawks this season.
David Backes and Alexander Steen had goals and Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves in regulation before the netminder stopped Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp in the shootout to help the Blues prevail in their first road game of the season.
Marian Hossa had a goal and an assist and Brandon Pirri notched his first career score but it wasn't enough as the Hawks dropped to 4-1-2.
"I didn't like our game at all," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "The first 12 minutes I liked (and) after that ... we slowed ourselves down. I didn't like our pace, I didn't like the way we turned pucks over (and) I didn't like how we didn't get any pucks to the net."
The Hawks opened the scoring in the first period when Hossa slid the puck to the left circle for Pirri to fire a shot off the left post and in. The lead didn't last long as less than three minutes later the Blues got the equalizer on a power play when Backes redirected a long Jay Bouwmeester shot.
The Hawks regained the lead when Hossa and Sharp broke in two-on-none on Halak after a nifty backhand pass from defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and Hossa ripped a shot from the slot that sailed past the goalie's right pad.
Again the Blues (5-1-0) answered right back when Steen was credited with a goal after Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith inadvertently tipped the puck past Crawford and into his own net.
Halak and Crawford (26 saves) made the tie stand up throughout the rest of regulation and overtime to set up the shootout.
"We're a little disappointed we didn't get the extra point," Crawford said. "It's just another tight game against them. We definitely could have won but we didn't. It was just a hard-fought game."
(c)2013 Chicago Tribune
Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services