These days, the struggling Chicago Blackhawks need a break to even earn a tie.
And it appeared they got one in a 2-2 decision with the Ottawa Senators on Sunday night.
The Blackhawks' winless streak reached 10 games (0-8-2), but things could have been worse. With 3:35 left in regulation, and the game tied 2-2, Ottawa's Igor Kravchuk fired a shot from the left circle past Chicago goaltender Mark Fitzpatrick.
However, the goal was disallowed when the video replay official Ben Hecht ruled the skate of Ottawa's Andreas Johansson was in the crease. Hecht's review had been requested by referees Dennis LaRue and Lance Roberts.
Johansson, however, claimed he had cleared the crease after being bumped into it by Chicago's Ethan Moreau.
"I was 100 percent sure I wasn't in," Johansson said. "I looked at my feet. I wanted to make sure because it was a set play for us. I can't believe they went upstairs (for the review), it was a joke."
Although the tie stretched the Senators' winless streak to six games (0-3-3), the Blackhawks were more desperate. Chicago hasn't won since a 5-4 victory at home over Nashville on Oct. 24.
"I haven't seen (the replay), but we deserve a break," said Chicago coach Dirk Graham, whose team got power-play goals from Tony Amonte and Eric Daze. "I thought the guys worked extremely hard."
"Tonight we tried to not worry about systems, just playing hard," said Amonte, now tied with Edmonton's Bill Guerin for the NHL lead in goals with 12. "We're happy with the tie, not satisfied, but happy."
Daze's power-play goal at 5:47 of ththird period lifted Chicago to the tie. He converted a deflection from the slot 49 seconds after Ottawa's Shaun Van Allen had given the Senators a 2-1 lead with a shorthanded breakaway goal. Lance Pitlick also scored for the Senators.
Although Ottawa outshot Chicago 12-4 in the first period, the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes thanks to alert goaltending by Fitzpatrick.
Pitlick opened the scoring at 3:07 of the second period when he drove to the net to finish a give-and-go with Alexei Yashin.
Amonte, however, tied it 1-1 at 6:12 with a power-play goal, the first allowed by Ottawa in four games. He shoveled a shot past Damian Rhodes after Paul Coffey's drive from the slot deflected off Daze's stick.
Van Allen gave the Senators a 2-1 lead at 4:58 of the third period. He raced the length of the ice and beat Fitzpatrick on the stick side after Doug Gilmour lost the puck at the right point during a Chicago power play.
"I think the puck was spinning on him and maybe changed directions," Van Allen said. "That's something that's only going to happen maybe once a year on a guy like Doug Gilmour because he's got such great hands."
But during the same Blackhawks manpower advantage Daze tied it, 2-2, by redirecting in Gilmour's shot from the left point.
© 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved