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Hawks frustrated by season-ending loss

By Tim Cronin - NHL.com Correspondent

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Hawks frustrated by season-ending loss
Jonathan Toews sat with his arms crossed and looked straight ahead in the Chicago Blackhawks' locker room, trying to make sense of it all.

CHICAGOJonathan Toews sat with his arms crossed and looked straight ahead in the Chicago Blackhawks' locker room, trying to make sense of it all.

Mike Smith
Mike Smith
Goalie - PHX
RECORD: 4-2-0
GAA: 1.81 | SVP: 0.950
The Hawks fired 241 pucks at Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith in six games.

Smith stopped all but a dozen of them, including all 39 shots he faced in Monday night's series-clinching 4-0 shutout of Chicago at the United Center.

"We worked so hard, we had so many chances, and every time we had a chance and it didn't go in, we said, 'Keep working, we'll get another one. It'll go in eventually,'" Toews said. "It just didn't. We didn't get the bounce we needed to win the game. Simple as that."

He looked up for a moment, but otherwise didn't move. The questions came at him the way the Hawks went at Smith for the first 40 minutes.

"There were chances you just don't believe they don't go in," Toews said, referring to a point-blank left-pad stop on Brendan Morrison five minutes into the second period. "It is what it is. You've got to forget about it and go on, tell yourself you'll score the next shift.

"We kept going through this game with that attitude. We never got the breaks we wanted."

That was the attitude throughout the locker room, including with goaltender Corey Crawford. He came into the playoffs thinking he'd be playing in June.

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Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent
The Chicago Blackhawks, needing a win to save their season, peppered Mike Smith with shots through the first 40 minutes at United Center on Monday night. They just couldn't crack through the wall and the Coyotes earned a convincing 4-0 victory as a result to clinch this Western Conference Quarterfinal series in six games. READ MORE ›

"You always want to go out winning," Crawford said. "I thought we had a strong enough team to do that. Look at a game like tonight. We definitely could have won that one. It just didn't seem to go our way.

"He (Smith) played well, obviously. That happens in the playoffs sometimes. You run into a goalie who gets into a zone. It's more frustrating for us, I think. We felt really confident with this group and it's just frustrating."

More than one stick was snapped over the net as Phoenix's goals piled up. But Toews was held to two goals, Patrick Sharp to one, and Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa were blanked, the latter in the two-plus games before Raffi Torres knocked him out of the series.

"He makes all the saves when he sees the puck," Sharp said. "A lot of times when he doesn't see it, it hits him anyway. I thought tonight, (and) the last 6-7 periods, we generated a ton of chances and just weren't able to put one in.

"I don't question the team's effort at all. We believe in each other. We played strong right through the end. We honestly believed we were going to come back, tie the game, and win it."

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville called losing Hossa the turning point in the series.

"I think that was probably the one," Quenneville said.

Losing three games at the United Center didn't help, either.

"It's brutal," Quenneville said. "The first two games were equally stinging. Today, not having a goal, but doing everything you want for basically 40 minutes ... the crowd was in it. We had everything we were looking for except a goal."

Two years ago, Toews lifted the Stanley Cup. Since then, he's captained a team that hasn't made it out of the first round.

"We were 110 percent in our minds that we were going to win tonight, go back and find a way to take the series in seven games," Toews said. "I don't know what to say right now."

Quote of the Day

One player does not make your team. One player can help your team, but one player does not make your team. We're not a bare-bones organization.

— Columbus Blue Jackets president John Davidson
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