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Blackhawks lose to Stars, fall further behind in playoff race

“We seem to be a little bit fragile,” a pointed Connor Murphy said after the 5-1 loss. “Instead of picking each other up and a mistake on a goal or a shift where they’re on us, we don’t seem to be responding very well.”

The Stars scored four consecutive goals to beat the Blackhawks 5-1.
The Stars scored four consecutive goals to beat the Blackhawks 5-1.
Jeff Haynes/AP

The Blackhawks made some costly individual mistakes Thursday in a 5-1 loss to the Stars.

Nikita Zadorov committed an unforced defensive-zone turnover that gave the Stars an easy go-ahead goal. Duncan Keith fell down at the offensive blue line, leading to a breakaway for the Stars’ fourth goal. Adam Boqvist bungled a line change, giving the Stars a two-on-one rush for their fifth goal.

But even more alarmingly, the Hawks didn’t rally together as a team after those errors. Defenseman Connor Murphy and coach Jeremy Colliton spoke at length about that subject afterward.

“We seem to be a little bit fragile,” Murphy said. “Instead of picking each other up after a mistake on a goal or a shift where they’re on us, we don’t seem to be responding very well. That’s on us as a group, and even a leadership group, to be able to recognize things and get our game going in the right direction.”

“There’s going to be things that go against you . . . and you have to respond,” Colliton said. “That whole second period, I’d like to see us handle that adversity better, stick together, pick each other up.”

Nothing went well for the Hawks. The penalty kill allowed two goals. The overly stationary power play fell to 1-for-20 in its last seven games. And the turnovers were endless.

Meanwhile, in Detroit, the Predators pummeled the Red Wings 7-1 for their 11th win in 13 games.

Nashville has pulled four points ahead of the Hawks for the Central Division’s final postseason berth with 16 games remaining for each team. This is the first time the Hawks have been more than two points out of a playoff spot since Jan. 21, a week into the season.

The Hawks look statistically less likely to make the playoffs with every passing day. They also act less like a playoff team every day, in Murphy and Colliton’s words.

“When you’re a playoff team and you have your game together, it seems like nothing can faze you,” Murphy said. “Lately in these losses, when we give up momentum for longer spurts of time, we haven’t been.”

“When we don’t execute or we do make an individual mistake, winning teams pick each other up and respond,” Colliton said. “I’d like to see more of that.”