For large parts of the three-game series between the Blackhawks and Detroit, the Hawks outplayed or played even with the Red Wings.
Yet Detroit won all three convincingly, including Tuesday night's 4-1 victory at Joe Louis Arena. The loss dropped the Hawks to 3-9 and extended their losing streak to four.
"Detroit takes advantage of your mistakes," Hawks coach Trent Yawney said. "If there is an area where we're lacking now, we're just not finishing off the mistakes the other team makes."
That's usually the difference between winning and losing teams, and Tuesday night provided another stark contrast:
The Hawks' Pavel Vorobiev fans on a shot with an open net. Detroit's Kirk Maltby is left alone in the slot, fires a shot off the post, grabs his own rebound and scores.
The Hawks' Rene Bourque has goalie Chris Osgood down and out but can't control the puck and watches it slide inches wide. The Wings' Brett Lebda shoots from the goal line and deflects the puck off defenseman Duncan Keith and through the small opening offered by goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.
It's to the point where even the plays that should turn around the Hawks' momentum fail to do so.
Khabibulin stopped a penalty shot by Robert Lang early in the second period to keep the deficit at one goal. He failed, however, to cover the post three minutes later on Lebda's goal.
"It was more cheating on the pass," Khabibulin said. "I didn't expect him to shoot from there. I made a mistake at a bad time in the game. There's no excuse."
Maltby's goal late in the first period gave the Wings the lead despite the Hawks having the better of the play for most of the first 20 minutes.
Less than a minute after the goal, Matthew Barnaby fell into Detroit starting goaltender Manny Legace, who was forced backward and injured his left knee. Legace, who set an NHL record with 11 victories in October, left the game and will have an MRI exam Wednesday.
Osgood, who won Saturday's game in his first appearance of the season, came in and immediately turned aside Vorobiev from close range.
The break the Hawks had been looking for appeared to come four minutes into the second period. Lang was sprung up the middle and had a step on defenseman Jassen Cullimore, who appeared to make a fine play by swinging his stick at the puck. Referee Chris Lee called a penalty shot instead.
"I thought Cullimore made an awesome play," Yawney said.
Instead of building off Khabibulin's save, Barnaby took a hooking penalty in the offensive zoneone of five Hawks penalties in the offensive zoneand Lebda scored from the goal line.
"I'd rather be scored on on a penalty shot [than] from the goal line," Khabibulin said.
Brendan Shanahan beat Khabibulin high to the glove side from the slot late in the second period to make it 3-0 before Adrian Aucoin's power-play goal at 18:23 of the second made it 3-1. Jason Williams added a power-play goal for Detroit in the third period.
The Hawks had great chances to pull closer early in the third, but Vorobiev and Bourque came up short. That has been the story of the season.