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Hawks shooting blanks in 2-1 loss over Sabres
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago Blackhawks goalie Cristobal Huet makes a save under pressure from Buffalo Sabres' Patrick Kaleta (36) as Blackhawks' John Madden (11) defends during the third period in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday.


Associated Press

Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane skates before the NHL hockey game against the Buffalo Sabres in Buffalo, N.Y., Friday.


Associated Press

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Published: 12/11/2009 9:24 PM | Updated: 12/12/2009 12:18 AM

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Tim Sassone's game tracker

Sabres 2, Blackhawks 1

Three stars

1. Patrick Lalime, Sabres: Made 39 saves in just his fourth appearance of the season.

2. Clarke MacArthur, Sabres: His second-period goal proved to be the game winner.

3. Patrick Kane, Hawks: Played a strong third period and had 7 of Chicago's 40 shots with an assist.

Key stat

The Hawks were 0-for-3 on the power play that included a failed 4-on-3 in the first period that lasted 91 seconds.

Welcome home?

Patrick Kane was booed each time he touched the puck in his return home for the first time since his arrest last August.

"I think it's kind of a privilege to be booed," Kane said. "Obviously you don't want it in your hometown, but it's to be expected. There's probably people out there who are more Sabres fans than Kane fans."

BUFFALO, N.Y. - For the most part, Patrick Kane was able to slip quietly in and out of town.

All of the Blackhawks did, for that matter.

With their offense continuing to sputter, the Hawks had 40 shots but only 1 goal to show for it Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Sabres at HSBC Arena.

Since scoring seven times at San Jose on Nov. 25, the Hawks have 10 goals in the last seven games with only 3 wins (3-3-1).

"We're not happy that the puck is not going in for us," said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who threatened more line changes for Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.

"We're putting the shots up, but I don't know what the scoring chances are and if they're quality, good shots," defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We have to find ways to get to the net more.

"I don't think it's the biggest concern in the world, but it's something we need to get clicking and get a lot of us off the schneid little bit and move forward."

Kane, playing his first game back in his hometown since last summer's arrest and booed each time he touched the puck, assisted on Patrick Sharp's third-period goal but now is without a goal of his own in nine games.

Sharp has 3 goals in the last 17 games and Marian Hossa 1 in seven. There has been little or no secondary scoring of late with Andrew Ladd without a goal in 10 games and Troy Brouwer and John Madden each scoreless in seven.

"We're getting a lot of shots, but I don't know if we've run into some hot goalies or whatever," Kane said. "It's kind of frustrating right now, obviously, because we want to score more goals. Maybe it's the quality of chances."

The Hawks outshot the Sabres 17-11 in the first period and 16-5 in the third, but in between Buffalo got second-period goals from Thomas Vanek and Clarke MacArthur.

The Hawks had 2 failed power plays in the game's first seven minutes, including a 4-on-3 that lasted 91 seconds. Sabres goalie Patrick Lalime made a nice stop on Brent Seabrook's slap shot along the ice during the 4-on-3.

"Maybe if we elevate the puck there we might have beat him on that," Quenneville said.

Lalime was in goal for the Sabres with Ryan Miller, the NHL's top goalie to this point in the season, getting the night off.

It didn't matter in the end.

Lalime entered the game, just his fourth of the season, with a 4.54 goals-against average and .836 save percentage.

"Tonight's a night we've got to find a way to win," Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "That's a team that's beatable, in my opinion, and we just didn't play well enough coming in here."

Quenneville was upset with the 15 times the Hawks missed the net, including 4 by Kane and 3 by Hossa.

"We missed the net with some quality opportunities that could have maybe generated more quality off that as well," Quenneville said.

The line combinations Quenneville used in the third period worked better, with Toews centering for Hossa and Brouwer and Sharp between Kane and Byfuglien. Kris Versteeg played only 13 minutes.