There have been glimpses this season of what the Blackhawks can be and what they aspire to be. But those have been few and fleeting.
Thursday was another example, another tease to get the hopes up.
But Detroit, making a mockery of the NHL through its first 11 games, scored three third-period goals to beat the Hawks 5-2 and take the first game of a three-game series that continues Saturday night at the United Center.
While the Hawks viewed this series as an opportunity to measure themselves against the league's elite, the Wings no doubt see it as an opportunity to pad theirwon-loss record.
Detroit improved to an NHL-best 10-1 with 20 points while the Hawks fell to 3-7 with just six points.
The Wings snapped a 2-2 third-period tie with a power-play goal by Mathieu Schneider, his second of the night. Schneider's shot from just inside the blue line deflected off Matthew Barnaby's stick and over Nikolai Khabibulin's left shoulder.
Schneider's first goalalso on the power play in the first perioddeflected off Curtis Brown's shin and past Khabibulin.
As the White Sox can certainly attest, when you're going well, you get the breaks. When you're not you're the Hawks.
"Sometimes you just have to work for your bounces and we didn't get them when we needed them tonight," Brown said.
Once again, special teams were pivotal. The Wings were 2-for-5 on the power play, the Hawks 0-for-5. Adding Tuesday's loss in Nashville, the Hawks are in a 1-for-18 slump on the power play.
"I see too much ad-libbing and not following the structure," on the power play, Hawks coach Trent Yawney said.
The Hawks played a nearly flawless opening 20 minutes and yet went to the dressing room tied at 1-1. They held the Wings without a shot on goal for the first 8 minutes 51 seconds and grabbed the lead when Matt Ellison sent a rebound of a Jaroslav Spacek shot past Manny Legace at 10:02.
But with Adrian Aucoin in the penalty box for hooking, Schneider scored his first of the night off Brown.
Spacek gave the Hawks the lead 7:28 into the second period when he rifled a shot between Legace's pads. But 1:58 later, Pavel Vorobiev was on the wrong side of Henrik Zetterberg, who redirected a shot by Pavel Datsyuk past Khabibulin. That tied it at 2-2 going into the third.
The fourth goal came when a Steve Yzerman dump-in kicked out in front of the net past Khabibulin for a tap-in by Kris Draper.The Red Wings took the first eight shots of the third periodperhaps annoyed to still have the Hawks hanging aroundand the Hawks' first shot on goal didn't come until 11:45 had elapsed. Barnaby sent a long shot toward Legace while short-handed. It was 13 seconds after that when Schneider found Barnaby's stick for the eventual game-winner.
"That's the way it's going now, I guess," Khabibulin said. "As far as I can see, the only way is up now."