- Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lighting at the United Center on Sunday night.
How it happened: Tampa Bay got a power-play goal on a gift delay-of-game call in the first period and then sat on the lead for the rest of the game. The Hawks had a tough time getting through the neutral zone, but their scoring chances increased as the night went on. Mike Smith was up to the challenge in net for the Lightning as most of the action was in his end in the final 40 minutes. The Hawks’ two power-play chances both came in the third period. Still, they weren’t able to dent the back of the net, getting shut out for the fourth time this year and third time in eight games. They outshot the Lightning 31-15. Nate Thompson added an empty-netter at the end for the Lightning.
What it means: Depending on what happens in other games, this could be a devastating night for the Hawks or it could just be another game off the calendar that gets them closer to securing a playoff seed. The Hawks offense has dried up some as of late. Along with the three recent shutouts, the Hawks have had a one- and two-goal game in their last eight. That’s five of eight games scoring two goals or less. The power play didn’t get many chances, but the Hawks failed to take advantage of crucial third-period opportunities with the extra man. Tampa Bay played a classic road game on the back end of back-to-backs by sitting on the early lead. The Hawks fell to 42-28-8.
What’s next: The Hawks begin a busy final week of the regular season with a road game Tuesday in Montreal. It’s the only meeting between the two teams this season.