Detroit Red Wings' Jiri Hudler, left, of Czech Republic, scores a goal against Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Cristobal Huet, of France, during the first period.
DETROIT - For the fourth time this season the Blackhawks showed they have what it takes to play with one of the NHL's elite teams.
They just can't find a way to beat either the Red Wings or the Sharks.
The Hawk came oh so close once again Saturday night at Joe Louis Arena, but a 4-2 third-period lead turned into a 5-4 shootout loss to the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings.
The Hawks are 0-for-4 against Detroit and San Jose - all 1-goal losses, two in shootouts and once in overtime. And in each game the Hawks led in the third period.
"I think we played well," Brent Seabrook said. "We outshot them (32-30) and had a boatload of chances.
"We've proved to ourselves we can play with these teams. We've just got to do a better job of, I guess, putting them away or winning those games in the third period."
Putting the Red Wings away is easier said than done, especially when it seems as if Henrik Zetterberg and Marian Hossa never come off the ice.
Zetterberg scored on a power play 6:32 into the third period to make it 4-3, with Hossa tying it with 9:37 left with a fabulous shot high over goalie Cristobal Huet.
The Hawks played a great second period but only got a goal from Andrew Ladd to make it 4-2 despite dominating much of the play.
"We were playing the perfect game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I think all the time I've been in this building that might have been the best our team played.
"I still liked all aspects of our game tonight. If we get to 5-2, I really liked our chances. I still think we had a lot of good puck possession against that team."
Pavel Datsyuk scored the only goal in the shootout with Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane each turned away by Red Wings goalie Ty Conklin.
The Hawks are 2-5 in shootouts with 2 more losses in overtime.
"In the second intermission we talked about the last game (Oct. 25 in Chicago), where we had them 4-2 going in the third period," Toews said. "We did everything we could to not let that happen again in the third. We played as hard as we can, but that's a good team and you've got to give them credit for their skill and the way they play the game.
"It (stinks) we didn't take out the 2 points, but it's a credit to our guys. We gave it as hard as we have probably all year in all three periods. I think it's a character builder in a lot of ways."
The Hawks battled their way to 1 point despite falling behind 2-0 in the game's first five minutes. But 2 goals by Toews, his first a highlight-reel job, and Sharp's 15th of the season made it 3-2 after one.
"We're not going to let it be a mental thing where we feel like we can't beat these guys no matter what we do," Toews said. "There's no truth to that whatsoever. We have all the skill in the world in this locker room and any given day we can stand up to these guys and hang in there with them."