The Red Wings' feeling of so close, yet so far away is unusual in recent years. But it happens with some regularity in this season of development.

They fell Sunday to the Blackhawks, 2-1 in a shootout, with victory easily within grasp.

That is a second consecutive loss by one goal to the record-setting, best team in the NHL. The Wings clung to 1-0 leads for long stretches in both games, Sunday and Jan. 27, without scoring a second one, while suffering just enough misfortune to lose. Their margin for error is more slender this season; often a sliver.

Less do they play games poorly and still manage to win, and they struggle through more valiant efforts that result in heartbreaking losses.

They were 2:02 from victory against the undefeated-in-regulation Blackhawks when a fortunate bounce put the puck on the stick of Patrick Kane. He buried it behind Jimmy Howard to send the game to overtime.

How narrow their margin? Howard was terrific all day, an absolute wall.

A bit bashful and uncompetitive in the first period back home after a trip to California?

It could cost the Red Wings a win, and it did Sunday.

A couple of mistakes, like shooting the puck into the crowd instead of off the glass on clear-outs? It more readily spells defeat; and it did Sunday.

The opposing goalie miraculously gets a speck of his blocker on a shot and it hits the post and deflects away from the net, as Corey Crawford managed to do against Johan Franzen late in the game? There might not be enough other chances to score a crucial second goal.

From The Detroit News: