LAS VEGAS – At this point in a season getting slowly away from them, progress is measured in simple achievements.
That’s a positive way to look at the Blackhawks’ effort on Thursday night against the defending Western Conference champions. For the first time in nearly two weeks, they had a lead, and were much more competitive against their opponent than they were a week-and-a-half ago.
Yet these are all consolations for Jeremy Colliton’s team, who once again had to skate off the ice without a victory in another trying stretch of a difficult season.
The Golden Knights erased that Blackhawks lead in the third period, scoring a pair of goals in a 4-3 victory that sends the team to their sixth consecutive loss. All of the defeats have come in regulation, meaning the team hasn’t gotten a single point since their last victory on November 24th against Florida.
That was the last time they had the lead in a game, too, and that was only in overtime when they won the contest. In fact, you had to go back to a November 18th win against the Wild to find the last time the team led in regulation.
That finally changed on Thursday, December 5th, though it took overcoming another bad start. For a second-straight game, the Blackhawks fell behind 2-0 in the first period on goals by Reilly Smith and Deryk Engelland. Just as they did against the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday, the visitors tied the game with a pair of goals in the second, as Jonathan Toews and Dylan Strome each netted scores.
Artem Anisimov got the Blackhawks that regulation lead 7:14 into the third when he stole the puck at the blue line and skated in for a backhanded goal to make it 3-2. It lasted on 41 seconds, as Jonathan Marchessault tied the game with a score soon after, then Alex Tuch put Vegas ahead with a goal 12 seconds later to make it 4-3.
As they have before in this stretch, there would be no tying goal, as the Blackhawks lost their third game in the six contest losing streak by just a goal. Not that it makes it much better for a squad that is looking for positives anywhere they can find them in a difficult start to December.