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Hawks once again can't close

DALLAS -- So which reoccurring problem hurt the Chicago Blackhawks this time in their 4-3 shootout loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday night?

Flat start or bad finish?

Try the latter, and it’s come to the point where even in blowing a 3-0 lead, the Hawks have to find a positive.

“At least we got a point,” Joel Quenneville said after the game.

At least there’s that. Too many times they’ve lost the close ones in regulation but at 3-0 after one, and even 3-2 after two, there is no “positive” to this result.

“I don’t have anything new to say to you guys,” a disgusted Jonathan Toews said. “Every time we lose it’s the same thing that happens. We don’t change it.

“We get comfortable with a lead. That’s what you see there. Us giving the other team a chance to come back every time. I don’t understand what’s going on.”

No one does. If this was October or November, you might chalk it up to a bad stretch. But after 55 games, the Hawks have some serious issues closing out teams. The Hawks are 21-4-2 now when leading after two periods. That might sound pretty good until you know that Dallas hasn’t lost in regulation when leading after 40 minutes. Think if the Hawks had four less 60 minute losses on their ledger.

“That’s our problem,” Toews said. “We get satisfied and give teams a chance to come back.”

The Hawks had an opportunity to make it 4-0 in the first but couldn’t convert on a 49-second 5-on-3 power play. Who knew that would come back to haunt them? And then there was the power-play attempt after Fernando Pisani was knocked out cold by a Mark Fistric hit in the second period. The Hawks did nothing on that man advantage either.

“We can go back and work our [butts] off on that power play and really try and show them up and get them back for hurting one of our players and we don’t,” Toews stated. “We were satisfied. That was a terrible power play.”

All of this added up to a heartbreaking loss for Marty Turco, in his return to Dallas after spending nine years here as a starter. His demeanor was calm after the game despite the way it went down.

“Anything that I really have to say is going to be said in here,” Turco stated. “It’s not going to be any value to say it to anyone else but my teammates. We have a big hill to climb, period.”

That they do. And with injuries piling up -- the Hawks lost three players in the second period -- and another game on Saturday night in Phoenix, that hill just got a little higher.

At this point, sadly, how they’re going win becomes less interesting of a question than, how are they going to lose?