Blackhawks, frustrated about penalty disparity, fall to Coyotes in shootout

The Hawks committed six minor penalties in the 4-3 shootout defeat.

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The Blackhawks handed the Coyotes six power plays Sunday, including this Calvin de Haan trip on Carl Soderberg.

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The Blackhawks didn’t deserve to win Sunday, and they didn’t. The Coyotes battled back from two two-goal deficits to win 4-3 in a shootout.

But an undercurrent of barely contained frustration about the refereeing stewed in the locker room.

“Probably could’ve got another power play or two ourselves, -considering how many we had to kill off,” coach Jeremy Colliton said.

The Coyotes enjoyed six power plays, scoring on two of them to flip a 3-1 deficit into a 3-3 tie -during the second period, while the Hawks had two.

The latter of those Hawks’ opportunities came with three minutes left in overtime, and that 4-on-3 advantage led to a number of golden shooting opportunities that the Hawks unwisely passed up. Jonathan Toews was then called for a slashing penalty that ruined the final 30 seconds of it.

“We had some plays where we bobbled the puck a bit and made a few bad passes,” Alex DeBrincat said. “We take a penalty late there that I don’t know if that’s a very good call. We had a lot of penalties today. Mostly, we have to stay out of the box.”

The Coyotes then took advantage of Robin Lehner’s ongoing shootout struggles to claim the victory, although Lehner’s 44-save heroics — including two spectacular stops with the score tied — were a main reason why the Hawks even lasted to the skills competition.

The Hawks were most upset over a hit by Jason Demers on DeBrincat that appeared to be a textbook boarding situation but went uncalled.

“It was pretty blatant that was missed,” Calvin de Haan said. “Alex’s head went right off the boards. I don’t know how they didn’t call that one.”

Dennis Gilbert then skated half the length of the rink to challenge, fight and quickly demolish Demers, but was given 17 minutes of penalties — two for instigating, five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct — as a result. The Coyotes scored the game-tying goal on the ensuing power play.

“It sends a good message to the rest of the players that we’re in this together and we’re going to take care of each other,” Colliton said of Gilbert’s fight. “But I would have liked us to react better the rest of the game.”

Toews’ long-awaited breakout — the captain scored less than a minute into the game and added two more assists on goals by DeBrincat and Dominik Kubalik — is a bright spot moving forward.

Keith now ‘week-to-week’

Duncan Keith, arguably still the Blackhawks’ top defenseman even at this stage of his career, won’t return to the lineup for a while.

“He’s not skating yet, so it’s not imminent, but I don’t have a day,” Colliton said Sunday. “It’s -probably week-to-week is best thing to describe it.”

Keith suffered a groin injury while trying (and failing) to defend a Valeri Nichushkin breakaway on Nov. 29, and has missed five games since.On injured reserve since late last week, Keith doesn’t seem likely to travel on the Hawks’ upcoming three-game road trip, for which the team will depart Monday.

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