When it comes to matching up against the better teams in the Western Conference, it's beginning to appear the Blackhawks are a 15- to 20-minute team.
For about that amount of timesometimes a little more, sometimes lessthe Hawks can play with the best the West has to offer, be it Detroit, Vancouver or Friday's opponent, the Los Angeles Kings.
But the Hawks have yet to show the ability to beat those teams. Friday was the latest instance as the Kings withstood a strong opening 15 minutes by the home team and then walked away with a 4-2 victory.
"The mistakes we made, they made us pay," Hawks coach Trent Yawney said. "That's what good teams do."
The Hawks' modest winning streak ended at two games, but more importantly they failed to take advantage of a rare early-season home game, falling to 3-4 at the United Center.
The Hawks took the lead on a Brent Seabrook shot from the point 14 minutes 47 seconds into the first period.
After the goal, the Hawks had outshot the Kings 9-4.
But Los Angeles regrouped and scored twice in a span of 1:31 to take the lead. Eric Belanger banged home a rebound off a Jeff Cowan shot. Then Mike Cammalleri was able to beat Todd Simpson on a 2-on-2 and redirect Dustin Brown's pass to make it 2-1.
"I feel responsible for letting the team down," Simpson said. "[Cammalleri] was my guy, I have to have his stick."
The Kings made it 3-1 just 1:54 into the second when Alexander Frolov was left alone to the left of Nikolai Khabibulin and tapped in a pass from Belanger.
The Hawks then had four straight power plays in the periodincluding a two-man advantage for 35 secondsthat they failed to capitalize on.
"No question we had our opportunities," center Curtis Brown said.
The Kings took advantage of one of their two power plays in the second, with Craig Conroy roofing a shot to make it 4-1.
The Hawks' Michael Holmqvist scored with nine seconds remaining for the final margin.
"We're all disappointed," Yawney said. "I thought we played a solid game, we just didn't get the result."