Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center on Sunday:
1. Playing catch-up again
The Blackhawks trailed three different times. They responded twice. But they couldn't even it up the third time as the Sharks pulled away in the third period with a trio of goals, which included an empty-netter.
It's the fourth time in five games the Blackhawks failed to hold a lead at any point in the game despite scoring at least three goals in four of them. But quite frankly, it's the primary reason they've lost four of those five games since winning 10 of their previous 12. It's difficult to pick up victories when you're chasing the game and don't build any sort of cushion.
2. Effort was there, but high quality chances against remained
The Blackhawks knew what they were up against going into San Jose. Even though they were without Evander Kane and Erik Karlsson, the Sharks ranked second in goals per game (3.58), third in shots per game (33.8) and fourth in power play percentage (25.3). It was a big test for the defense.
And while the overall effort was certainly much better than it was in Los Angeles, the Sharks generated 29 scoring chances and 16 high-danger chances at 5-on-5, according to naturalstattrick.com. It's the 11th time this season the Blackhawks have given up at least 16 high-danger chances during 5-on-5 play. The Blackhawks themselves had eight.
3. Patrick Kane's dry spell
After recording at least one point in 20 straight games, Kane was held off the scoresheet for the third time in four games and second straight. It's only the second time this season Kane has been held without a point in back-to-back games, with the first and only other time being Nov. 21 and 23.
The Blackhawks are now 0-10-2 when Kane fails to pick up at least a point. They're 27-19-7 when he does, according to NBC Sports Chicago's stats guru Christopher Kamka. So yeah, there's a reason he's been in the MVP discussion. When he's on, so are the Blackhawks. When he's not, often times neither is the team.
4. Playoff hopes all but dead
The Blackhawks didn't do themselves any favors on this West Coast trip. It was important for them to pick up at least four of six points to stay in the hunt. But they managed to get just two, and it came during the first game when they squeaked out a last-minute victory in regulation.
With the loss, the Blackhawks are heading back home trailing by eight points for the final wildcard spot and have seen their playoff odds slip to 1.1 percent, according to sportsclubstats.com. Barring a miraculous run in the final 16 games, it appears the Stanley Cup playoffs won't be coming to Chicago for the second consecutive season.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.