Despite Duncan Keith’s 100th goal, Blackhawks again collapse against Blues
Also, traded goalie Robin Lehner tweets about contract negotiations and GM Stan Bowman gives more tidbits about deadline day.
ST. LOUIS — In December, the Blackhawks led the Blues 3-0 early in the third period at Enterprise Center. They lost 4-3 in regulation.
On Tuesday, the Hawks led the Blues 3-1 in the second period and 5-4 midway through the third but again crumbled en route to a 6-5 regulation loss.
The good news: The Hawks have been competitive against the defending Stanley Cup champions. The bad news: Their mental fortitude only can endure so many gut punches, even with the playoffs already out of reach.
‘‘It’s about us,’’ said coach Jeremy Colliton, who was as visibly exasperated as he has been all season. ‘‘We turned pucks over. It’s a 3-2 game, we turn the puck over. We turn the puck over on the second goal, when we’re up 3-1 and in control of the game, playing well. Turned the puck over on the fourth goal.
‘‘I don’t know how you expect to win when you make those types of mental mistakes.’’
The Hawks did produce two silver linings, the first being the 31st-ranked power play’s 3-for-4 outing — its best performance of the season — and the second being defenseman Duncan Keith’s 100th career goal.
Keith became the fourth Hawks defenseman and, fittingly, the 100th in NHL history to reach the milestone. He has seven points in the Hawks’ last four games.
But he, too, was focused only on the Hawks’ horrific play in their own zone.
‘‘[In] the ‘D’ zone, when we have pucks, we’ve got to make sure we get them out,’’ he said. ‘‘The Blues . . . hang on to pucks, [make] little 10-foot passes on the tape and it’s out. And they’re supporting one another; they know where one another’s going to be.
‘‘That’s something we could look at. It’s been a work in progress for us.’’
Lehner tweets about talks
Plenty of speculation has swirled in the lead-up to — and in the aftermath of — the Hawks’ trade Monday of goalie Robin Lehner about what his contract demands might be when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer.
Lehner provided some insight Tuesday, tweeting that he ‘‘was willing to do short term’’ but that ‘‘money was never discussed.’’
Asked about those comments, Hawks general manager Stan Bowman said — just as he did Monday — that he didn’t want to talk about the negotiations with Lehner.
Bowman on defensive
Although Bowman didn’t get into the Lehner negotiations, he did offer more insight into the seemingly poor returns the Hawks got for Lehner and defenseman Erik Gustafsson in their deadline trades.
‘‘Your goal, when you’re in that position and you’re talking to teams, is you want to get the best deal you can,’’ he said. ‘‘We didn’t turn down better deals where there were first-round picks involved. The deals happen when the two sides can match. . . . Trust me, we did as much as we could and got the best deal we could.”
Bowman said a few other notable things, too.
He said the Hawks are looking at forward Max Shalunov — a 27-year-old star in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia, whose NHL rights they own — as well as ‘‘some free-agent players’’ to import from Europe for next season.
He also said the Hawks will have a ‘‘proven NHL goalie . . . next year’’ but didn’t commit to it being Corey Crawford, who is a pending unrestricted free agent.