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ST.PAUL -- They almost did it.
The Chicago Blackhawks are the only team in the NHL without a shutout but came as close as they have all season to finally earning one. But a power-play goal with just 3:12 remaining ruined Corey Crawford’s second to last chance at a blank slate this season in the Hawks' 2-1 shootout loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday.
“That’s so frustrating,” Crawford said. “It seemed like we were dominating in the first period. They didn’t have much. Just take a penalty in the last whatever and give them life and they score.”
It was Bryan Bickell’s high sticking call that started the Hawks down a bad path.
“I didn’t know I hit anybody but they see the game pretty well,” Bickell said. “It was a tough penalty to take at that time of game. And they scored.”
They scored just as opponents have done all season on power plays: From the point, with traffic in front of the net. This time it was Marco Scandella’s shot and Cal Clutterbuck’s deflection that went in.
“There were a couple guys in front with traffic,” Crawford said. “Hit someone and went the other way.”
As for the lack of a single shutout this season Crawford is trying not to think about it.
“A combination of some bad bounces,” he said. “I’m not going to worry about that. I’m just worried about winning games.”
Bickell almost opened up a 2-0 lead for the Hawks when he tipped in a Niklas Hjalmarsson shot in the third period. At first it looked like the referees declared it a good goal as Bickell’s stick was very close to being too high when he touched it.
“I didn’t know,” Bickell said. “I didn’t celebrate. They waved it off on the ice and the people in Toronto said no goal.”
Quenneville said the referees came over before the review and said the call on the ice was no goal. The official explanation by the NHL was replays were inconclusive so the call on the ice stood.
• The Hawks were eliminated on Thursday from attaining the No.4 seed in the Western Conference. They need to beat the Detroit Red Wings in regulation on Saturday to earn the No. 5 seed. Any other outcome means the Hawks are the No.6 seed.
• Marcus Kruger won 11 of 14 faceoffs as the Hawks won 56 percent for the game.
• The Hawks were leading in shots on goal 19 to 5 at one point in the game. The two teams finished with 23. The Hawks had a season low one shot on net in the third period.
• The Hawks fell to 30-1-3 when leading after two periods.
“That was one. We should have had one or two on there, put the game out of reach. Then we had a bunch of other ones. Same story kind of.”—Duncan Keith, on the Hawks unsuccessful five minute power play.