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(Sports Network) - While the names and faces may have changed, the results have unfortunately remained the same for the Chicago Blackhawks.

An aggressive flurry of offseason moves was expected to restore this once- proud franchise back to respectability in 2006-07, but the team's woeful play in the new calendar year has all but ensured the Blackhawks will likely be excluded from the playoffs for the eighth time in the last nine NHL seasons.

Chicago entered Thursday's play with just 41 points, the fourth-lowest total in the league, and has lost seven consecutive games. After seemingly making significant strides once Denis Savard took over head coaching duties in late November, the Blackhawks instead appear to have rediscovered the same bad habits that led to the club's brutal start to this campaign.

One of those disturbing trends that plagued Chicago early on was an inability to hold early leads, a problem that reoccurred in the team's two most recent setbacks. The Blackhawks blew a two-goal advantage in a home shootout loss to Minnesota on Sunday, then allowed Columbus to rally from a 3-1 deficit before falling to the Blue Jackets in overtime two days later.

"We had a two-goal lead and mental mistakes cost us," said right wing Martin Lapointe following the Columbus game. "It's frustrating."

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