We feel your pain
But there is no sympathy.
Chicago has struggled to score goals recently, despite having a solid record, with just six goals in the last four games. The Blackhawks broke out against Tampa Bay, getting four pucks behind Antero Niittymaki and into the net (they actually got five behind him, but he sprawled back and stopped the fifth from crossing the goal line) for a 4-0 victory.
The Lightning are in the midst of a woeful stretch, having lost eight of their last nine games. During that time, Tampa Bay has mustered just 13 goals. Four came in the lone victory and three came in one other game. So that's six goals for the other seven games. Sunday was the third time in the last nine that the Lightning have been shut out.
Scoring the goals for Chicago were Patrick Kane, Ben Eager, Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews. Antti Niemi faced just 18 shots. Hossa also had an assist.
We're not giving up yet
Colorado has struggled since the calendar changed from October, but the Avalanche aren't about to go away in the Northwest Division. They opened up a 3-1 lead and held on for a 3-2 win over Calgary to regain first place, though Colorado has played three more games than the Flames but is only two points ahead.
Three straight power plays led to a 5-on-3 advantage for Colorado in the first period and Wojtek Wolski converted to open the scoring. Chris Stewart and Darcy Tucker also recorded goals.
Rene Bourque and Mark Giordano tallied for the Flames, who got 32 saves from Miikka Kiprusoff but put only 21 shots on Craig Anderson.
Stats of the night
1 - The total number of goals Niemi has given up in his last three appearances, all coming after Nov. 7, as backup to Cristobal Huet.
11,448 - Announced attendance in Colorado.
Non-3 Stars Selection of the night
Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, two assists, plus-3, four hits. Third star was Chicago D Cam Barker (no points, +1, three shots, one block, one hit), second was Niemi and Hossa was first.
Quote of the night
"I thought tonight's game was a very, very important game. But obviously it was just the coaches who thought that. It's a tough league to be average in."
Calgary coach Brent Sutter
Monday, Dec. 14 (8 games)
Phoenix (19-11-2) at Detroit (16-11-5), 7:30 p.m. ET.