The Blackhawks traveled to Nashville, Thursday night to face the Preds, who were looking for revenge after the Blackhawks overtime win the previous week. This time around it was the Blackhawks who were icing their backup goalie, rather than the Preds.
The first period was controlled, mostly, by the Preds, who out shot the Blackhawks 14-6. Even with that shot differential, the Blackhawks went up 1-0, but surrendered the tying goal with just under a minute remaining in the opening twenty minutes.
The second period was much better for the Blackhawks as far as shots, but the Preds won the second period with the only goal of the period, thank to some sloppy play in the Blackhawks zone.
The Blackhawks fell victim to more sloppy play in their own zone and some exceptional play by the Nashville netminder, which pretty much spelled the end of their undefeated season.
- Just over halfway though the first period, the Blackhawks fourth line took a 1-0 lead. Marcus Kruger wrapped the puck around Rinne's left post and the puck laid in the crease long enough for Agent Smith to slam it past Rinne in typical grinding fashion.
- The Blackhawks second period power play didn't earn them a goal, but the first powerplay unit looked like we expect it to. They were dominant and had the Preds running around for almost the entire 2 minutes.
- Andrew Shaw took the puck to the net all by himself like a bull in a china shop with about seven minutes remaining in the game. Even though Rinne saved the initial shot, Shaw spun and whacked the rebound out of the air and into the net past the down goaltender.
- Blackhawks were solid at the dots, winning 55%. Richards was the only one that was under 50%.
- TVR is listed as having 4 blocked shots in only 13 minutes of ice time. He did nothing to tell me he didn't deserved more time.
- Didn't take long for Versteeg to get demoted to the third line with Richards and Bickell. Shocking. It got better in the second period, when Versteeg was dropped to the fourth line with Gorilla Salad and Kruger. Just when it didn't seemed like it could get any more weird in the third period, if you can imagine this, he was moved up with Kane and Toews, and essentially double shifted.
- James Neal beat Raanta with just under a minute remaining in the first period, just after Mike Ribeiro went on a first period douche bag crime spree. Ribeiro help the puck long enough, in the neutral zone, for the Pred to make a line change, and Neal came screaming off the bench. He drove to the dot and beat Raanta cleanly on the stick side.
- Two minutes into the third period, James Neal earned the natural hat trick when Raanta kicked a rebound right to Neal's stick and he chipped it into a gaping net. Seabrook was guilty of not tying Neal up enough to bail out Raanta.
- The more I watch Raanta, the more his over aggressiveness and lack of rebound control becomes more glaring.
- The Preds took a 2-1 lead late in the second period after Brandon Saad basically put the puck on a platter for James Neal to zing a shot past Raanta. Not a good goal at all, and not the way Saad is going to earn his way back to the second line.
- Oduya and Hjalmarsson were combined minus 3 and both had minus 7 or worse Corsi.
- Gorilla Salad barely played more than 6 minutes and Bickell only played 9:30.