One of the reasons the Blackhawks gave for firing Trent Yawney was the team's annoying habit early in the season of blowing two-goal leads.
After Tuesday night's 5-4 overtime loss to Western Conference cellar-dweller Columbus, the Hawks have blown two-goal leads in each of their last two home games.
That's unlikely, but it appears clear the problems facing the Hawksas numerous as last summer and the summer beforecan be traced to the roster and the hockey minds that assembled it rather than who's in the coach's office.
Jason Chimera scored 2 minutes 31 seconds into overtime, and seconds after a good Chicago scoring chance, to win it for Columbus and give the Hawks their seventh straight loss.
Coach Denis Savard is sounding much like Yawney did in his year-plus as coach and Brian Sutter before himcan't make mistakes, can't turn pucks over, etc., etc.
Meanwhile, the losses pile up and a month that figured to be pivotal for the Hawks playoffs hopeswhen that was still realisticfades away into what likely will be another spring hoping for the lottery ball to bounce their way.
"In this league, you can't afford to make mistakes," Savard said. "You make one mistake and it's in your net. That's what the NHL is all about."
After Sergei Fedorov put Columbus ahead 4:25 into the game, Patrick Sharp, Bryan Smolinski and Jim Vandermeer scored three unanswered goals for the Hawks.
Little did anyone know the Blue Jackets had the Hawks right where they wanted them. Rostislav Klesla beat Nikolai Khabibulin from the deep slot at 14:02 of the second to make it 3-2.
Then Joe Motzko went around Dustin Byfuglien at the Hawks blue line as if the Hawks defenseman were a statue and beat Khabibulin for his first NHL goal to tie game 3-3. Byfuglien was virtually inanimate after, playing one shift the rest of the game and none in the third period.
It wasn't a particularly strong night for Khabibulin, who watched five go by him on only 18 Columbus shots. Khabibulin made his 18th consecutive start Sunday and the 27th in the last 28 games and Savard said that perhaps his goaltender might be a bit fatigued.
"It obviously wasn't his best night, but that's where guys have to pull together and get a win for him," Savard said. "He has played so well, he has been tremendous."
Savard said he will talk to Khabibulin on Wednesday and, perhaps, re-evaluate his strategy of playing him in every game.
The Blue Jackets took the lead on Fredrik Modin's goal at 14:04 of the third. Smolinski then scored his second of the night off a Martin Havlat feed to tie the game 4-4 with 1:33 remaining.
Peter Bondra was placed on injured reserve with a sore shoulder and neck. Bondra will be out until after the All-Star break.
Havlat had a pair of assists, his first multi-point outing since Dec. 16 against Columbus, a span of 12 games.
Blue Jackets 5, Blackhawks 4 (OT)