The Chicago Blackhawks are out of the playoff hunt, but coach Denis Savard isn't letting up on them.
The Blackhawks look to end a six-game losing streak Friday night when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Chicago (27-40-9) has not won since a 4-3 shootout victory at Los Angeles on March 15, and has been outscored 22-9 during its losing streak. The Blackhawks have failed to score more than two goals in any of their last six games, and have managed just one in three of those contests.
Radim Vrbata scored the lone goal in Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks. The power-play goal was just Chicago's fourth in its last 46 chances at home.
The Blackhawks have converted just 12.4 percent of their power-play chances this season, ranking them among the worst teams in the NHL. They are 5-for-30 with the man advantage during their losing streak.
Savard was so frustrated with his team's play against the Ducks that he limited the playing time of some of his regulars - including Jassen Cullimore, Jason Williams, Tony Salmelainen, Martin Lapointe and Tuomo Ruutu - in the third period.
"I'm running our of answers here, but it's something we talk about every day," Savard said. "The guys that don't give the effort won't play. Tonight, I sat some guys in the third period because I didn't think they deserved to play, period."
Center Peter Bondra sat out for the fifth time in six games, this time because of a sore shoulder. He missed the first four games over that span with a back injury.
The Blackhawks are in the basement of the Central Division with 63 points, eight fewer than fourth-place Columbus (32-38-7). The Blue Jackets, meanwhile, are five points behind third-place St. Louis with five games remaining.
Columbus is hoping for its second straight third-place finish after failing to place higher than fourth in its first four seasons in the league. The Blue Jackets, who are just three wins shy of the franchise-record 35 they recorded last season, have also never finished higher than 13th in the Western Conference, but currently hold the 11th spot.
Chicago is trying to avoid losing the season series for the second straight season to Columbus, which has won four of seven heading into Friday's finale between the teams. The Blue Jackets won five of eight meetings last season.
Columbus had a four-game winning streak snapped on Thursday, falling 5-2 to the Ducks. Aaron Johnson and Sergei Fedorov scored for the Blue Jackets, whose run fell one win shy of their season high.
The Blue Jackets, who outscored their opponents 14-5 during the winning streak, held a 2-1 lead before allowing four goals in the third period. Goalie Fredrik Norrena, who stopped 26 shots, gave up more than two goals for the first time in seven appearances.
Fredrik Modin, who has 22 goals, left the game with a groin injury in the second period and did not return.
- Associated Press