Joel Quenneville won more than 300 games in his seven seasons as coach of the St. Louis Blues. But in his first game in charge of the Blackhawks on Saturday night, he didn't achieve the same type of success in the city with the giant arch.
The Hawks fell 4-3 in a shootout to the Blues at the Scottrade Center in Quenneville's debut behind the bench after taking over for the fired Denis Savard on Thursday.
Patrick Kane had two goals, but his shootout attempt hit the side of the post and T.J. Oshie later scored the game-winner past Nikolai Khabibulin to drop the Hawks' record to 1-2-2.
The Hawks twice blew two-goal leads and surrendered the tying goal in regulation to Andy McDonald with just 14 seconds remaining.
"It was a heck of a hockey game — great pace," Quenneville said. "Both teams worked hard. We did what we wanted to do.
"When it gets to a shootout anything can happen, but if we play hard like that, we'll find a way to win hockey games."
Kane opened the scoring 40 seconds into the game when linemate Kris Versteeg fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that Blues goaltender Manny Legace handled easily. But he left the rebound sitting between the circles as Kane swooped in and knocked it into the net for his second goal of the season.
Brian Campbell's second goal of the season made it 2-0 at 3:43 of the second. The defenseman picked up a loose puck and snapped a shot from between the top of the circles past Legace on the glove side.
St. Louis cut the lead in half at 17:11 of the second when Chris Porter deflected a Barret Jackman shot from inside the blue line past Khabibulin for his first NHL goal.
Kane scored again at the 3:55 mark of the third with the Hawks on the power play. The second-year winger took a pass from Campbell and fired it over Legace's left shoulder.
"It just felt like we dominated that game," Kane said. "It's 3-1 there with 10 minutes left, and they get a couple of lucky goals and we end up coming out with the loss.
"Joel came in after the game and he said he thought we played good and gave a great effort. We just have to win those games. We're a young team. We'll figure it out."
Keith Tkachuk's goal from the slot at 9:43 cut the Hawks' lead to 3-2 and McDonald scored from between the circles with traffic in front of Khabibulin in the waning seconds to send it to overtime.
"Certainly in that situation you know guys are going to be at the net, and especially when Keith Tkachuk's on the ice," McDonald said. "He's always in front of the goalie. When I was in that position, I was just trying to make sure the shot was on the net."
The Hawks hired Quenneville as a part-time scout in mid-September after he had had a successful 11-season run as a coach for the Blues and Colorado Avalanche. He was brought in to replace Savard and had about two days with his new team to prepare for Saturday night's game.
"It was great to be back there," Quenneville said. "There are a lot of options in front of me when I'm standing back there. I liked how we competed [and] I like the speed of our team. We did a lot of good things."
The Hawks picked up at least one point in their third straight game but were frustrated they couldn't come away with the victory.
"We really wanted to pick up the two points for a lot of reasons," said Patrick Sharp, who had an assist on Kane's second goal. "It's a frustrating way to lose the game. If we want to be a winning team, we have to learn to win games like that. It was a good test."
The Blues' Brad Boyes and Jonathan Toews of the Hawks scored in the shootout, but Oshie put St. Louis ahead and Legace stopped Martin Havlat for the victory.
"We'll find a way to continue to play with that type of energy and consistency," Quenneville said. "We'll get better as we go along here."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun