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The Blackhawks celebrate one of two Patrick Kane goals in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Canadiens. (AP/Kamil Krzaczynski)

Free-falling Blackhawks get two from Patrick Kane, lose 3-2 to Canadiens anyway

SHARE Free-falling Blackhawks get two from Patrick Kane, lose 3-2 to Canadiens anyway
SHARE Free-falling Blackhawks get two from Patrick Kane, lose 3-2 to Canadiens anyway

When you’ve won three times in your last 21 games, as the slow-starting, power-play-challenged, snake-bitten Blackhawks have, it’s hard to believe anyone else could have it worse.

But after a 3-2 loss Sunday to the Canadiens — the 10th consecutive opponent to score first against the Hawks — at least there’s a certain basketball-playing United Center co-tenant to be thankful for. The Hawks haven’t won a home game since Nov. 18, but the Bulls have elevated dysfunction to an art form.

If it’s a race to the bottom for the teams, the Hawks — who, if nothing else, continue to show the ability to claw back into games — can be reasonably confident they won’t win it.

Still, things are plenty bleak. The Hawks have lost seven consecutive games and haven’t won back-to-back games since October. And here’s a doozy of a negative trend: In their last 10 games, they’ve been outscored 24-6 in the first period.

The worst power-play team in the NHL managed to produce a first-period goal by Patrick Kane — his first of two scores on the night — but then came one of the oddest third periods in recent memory.

The Hawks spent 10 minutes in the third period with the man advantage. That included a six-minute stretch that came as Canadiens defenseman Jordie Benn picked up a four-minute high-sticking penalty immediately after an empty power play for a cross-check by Tomas Tatar expired. Penalties by Artturi Lehkonen and Brendan Gallagher gave the Hawks two more chances.

And though they held possession well in the offensive zone and pounded shots at Canadiens goalie Carey Price throughout the period, it resulted in precisely bupkis.

When Tatar got his stick on a shot by Jeff Petry to beat Hawks goalie Corey Crawford with 1:17 left, it was both shocking and, well, not.

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‘‘Kind of the same old story,’’ Kane said. ‘‘Get behind and play ourselves back into the game and find a way to lose it late. So another tough loss.’’

The Hawks have been stuck on 23 points since Nov. 24. Crawford — with more losses than any NHL goalie — dropped his eighth start in a row. The problems don’t roll off the tongue as much as they gush from a fire hose.

But coach Jeremy Colliton is keeping hope alive and insisting the Hawks remain in a positive place mentally.

‘‘We have to,’’ he said. ‘‘There’s no choice. Nobody is going to give us an easy way out of this; we have to make our own way. That’s what I’m going to bring, and that’s what I expect them to bring.’’

As silver linings go, Kane’s two-goal game was a nice one. Offensively, this team is up the creek without his scoring. He had scored only twice since blitzing through October with 11 goals.

‘‘It’s always nice to produce,’’ Kane said. ‘‘It’s been awhile for me here lately. I could feel it coming the last couple of games.’’

But the aftertaste was bitter even for him. Under more normal circumstances, this was a hard-hitting, down-to-the-wire matchup of Original Six teams that didn’t go the Hawks’ way. ‘‘Normal’’ left the building a long time ago, though.

To lose yet another game — and to do so with overtime a mere 77 seconds away — was especially tough to swallow.

‘‘In that position, it’s a tie game late in the third period, a couple of minutes left?’’ Kane said. ‘‘We’ve got to find a way to get just a point, get it to overtime, see what can happen.’’

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