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Hawks try to rebound against slumping Bolts

by John Kreiser
BLACKHAWKS (37-24-6) at LIGHTNING (37-21-8)


Last 10 -- Chicago 8-2-0; Tampa Bay 3-4-3

Season series -- It's the first of two late-season meetings between the non-conference rivals; Tampa Bay visits Chicago on April 3. The teams haven't seen each other in more than a year, since Chicago beat the Lightning 4-0 at the United Center on Dec. 13, 2009.

Big story -- The Hawks come to the St. Pete Times Forum for the first time since February 2009 looking to start a new winning streak after their eight-game run ended Tuesday with a 3-2 loss at Florida. Tampa Bay is trying to put the wheels back on after a four-game losing streak that has dropped them out of first place in the Southeast Division.

Team scope:

Blackhawks -- The Hawks played two of their best periods of the season in Florida; unfortunately, they came after a dreadful first period. Florida led 3-0 after 20 minutes, and not even outshooting the Panthers 29-7 in the final 40 minutes was enough to prevent the streak-busting loss.

"It was all about the first period and the start of the game," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They outworked us. We had lazy habits and probably extended our shifts and the result is three goals. They were all preventable goals.

"If you're looking for an easy game, you're not going to find it in this League."

Lightning -- While the Hawks have been hot, the Bolts are not. They've dropped four in a row, including a 2-1 shootout loss to Washington on Monday, and have scored just five goals in the process. The 0-3-1 slide has dropped them behind the Caps into second place in the Southeast.

"It's been a tough week, week and a half. That's why we have to battle and persist," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "It's easy to persist when things go easy. Now, they're just not turning our way."

Who's hot -- Chicago's Marian Hossa has points in eight straight games, the longest active streak in the League. Jonathan Toews had his nine-game streak end in Florida.

Injury report -- Chicago defenseman Jordan Hendry (knee surgery) is gone for the season, and center Fernando Pisani is still out with a concussion. … Tampa Bay was expected to activate defenseman Mike Lundin (abdomen) from injured reserve, where fellow blueliner Randy Jones (ankle) and forward Ryan Malone (abdomen) remain. Forward Steve Downie (lower body) and defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron (back) are day-to-day.

Stat pack -- Chicago has won its last three games against the Lightning and is 3-0-1-1 in its last five visits to the St. Pete Times Forum. In their last 13 meeting with the Lightning, the Hawks are 10-1-1-1.

Puck drop -- If anything good can come from a loss, the Hawks may have learned a valuable lesson by letting the struggling Panthers get the jump on them.

"I've been around a while and I don't know if I've ever seen a bigger lesson to be learned than I did tonight," said goalie Marty Turco, who relieved Corey Crawford after the first period and saw only seven shots. "Whatever it is we thought to ourselves or did, changed after one period. It was one heck of a wake-up call.

"The way we played (the last two periods) was unreal, but sometimes it's disappointing. Why can't we play like that all the time?"

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