Blackhawks-Lightning Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 23, 2013
While it hasn't hurt them too much in the standings, the Chicago Blackhawks would love to end their habit of giving away two-goal leads, which began in a shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. After blowing another such lead their last time out, the Blackhawks will try for a more complete performance in Thursday night's rematch with the Lightning. Chicago (6-1-2) has gotten off to a strong start despite giving away two-goal leads in four games, as it has managed to come away with two points in all but one of those contests. The Blackhawks led 2-0 after two periods over Florida on Tuesday before giving up two goals in a 2:47 span of the third, but went on to a 3-2 shootout win. Despite its struggles to hold leads, Chicago would be on a lengthy point streak to start the season if it hadn't allowed the go-ahead goal with 21.1 remaining in its only regulation loss. The club has been largely unaffected by being outscored 10-3 in the third period so far. ''We're not happy with giving up leads in the third period," said forward Patrick Sharp, who had the winning goal in the tiebreaker Tuesday. "We'd like to close teams out by scoring in the third period and get out of here, but when the games get tight we seem to play better and that's important. It would be a lot worse if we were coming away with no points instead of two." Chicago gave up two third-period goals to Tampa Bay in a 1:43 span and came up empty in three shootout attempts Oct. 5. Martin St. Louis and Teddy Purcell scored for the Lightning and Valtteri Filppula had the only goal in the tiebreaker of a 3-2 win. Tampa Bay (5-3-0), though, couldn't generate any offense in a 5-0 loss to Boston on Saturday as it failed to win a third straight. "I'm confident to say that tonight was an aberration in the way we play," coach Jon Cooper said. "It's just disappointing and sometimes you're going to have these (performances). "Right from the outset and in the couple of shifts, we just weren't executing and this is what happens. To play we did against a good team and this is the result." Tampa Bay has performed much better in recent matchups with Chicago, winning four in a row with three going past regulation. Quenneville said former Lightning goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin could start as the Blackhawks attempt to end their skid in the series. Khabibulin, who has played in one game this season, has gone 2-0-1 with a 1.89 goals-against average in three games against his former team since leaving Tampa Bay.
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