Saturday, April 18, 2015

PLAYOFFS: Blackhawks at Nashville
6-2 Game 2 Loss Recap

Shell Shocked
by Patrick Stankus

On Friday night, the Blackhawks and Predators continued their series with Game 2 taking place in Nashville. After being pulled in Game 1, coach Joel Quenneville made the "no brainer" decision and went with Corey Crawford in net, causing severe outrage in portions of the meatball area. With all the second guessing going on, Game 2 couldn't get here soon enough to quiet some of that talk, unfortunately with an 8:30pm start, that meant an extra hour of meatballism. Oh goody. Lets just get to the game already.

The Hawks got off to another slow start, that was magnified by a questionable charger penalty to Kris Versteeg just over 90 seconds into the game. With the PK currently struggling, it should come with no surprise that the Preds would cash in and take an early 1-0 lead. Late in the period, during a Harlem Globetrotter-esk shift, Patrick Sharp took a nifty pass from Hjalmarsson, and made a quick move around Pekka Rinne to tie the game a one with just under four minutes remaining. The tie would last long however. In the waning seconds of the period, Roman Josi danced around the Hawks "defense" and beat Corey Crawford on a long wrist shot with three seconds remaining. On the ensuing face off as the period ended, Andrew Shaw felt the need to take out some frustration, and a scrum broke out. While no fighting majors were handed out both Shaw and Bickell received 2 minutes each for roughing, along with Nashville's Paul Gaustad and Taylor Beck.

When the second period began, the Predators looked to feed off the momentum they had built following Josi's last second goal in the first. Just over three minutes in, Gaustad took a double minor for high sticking Michal Rozsival, and it seemed that the momentum would shift over to the Hawks. It turned out to be a different story. During the 4 minute power play, the Hawks managed just one shot, and in turn handed the Preds even more momentum. All was not fine and dandy for Nashville though. Early on in the second, they lost defenseman Shea Weber to a lower body injury and he didn't return. Just past the midway point, the Hawks benefited from a no call of too many men on the ice, which during that sequence saw Patrick Kane tie the game at two. Much like in the first period, the tie wouldn't last long, as just over 4 minutes later, Nashville would tie the game on a goal mouth scramble which saw the Hawks fail to clear the puck multiple times. As the horn sounded, ending the period, the Preds would lead the Hawks 3-2.

Whatever thought the Hawks had of tying the game in the third period were quickly erased by Nashville, and in turn saw the Hawks completely meltdown as the period went on. The bright spot (if you want to call it that) for the Hawks occurred early when they were able to kill off a Jonathan Toews interference penalty, but they weren't able to build on that at all. The train came completely off the tracks just past the midway following an ill advised decision to play the puck to an unsuspecting Duncan Keith. The end result was a tap in goal for Filip Forsberg, and the rout was on. In all the Predators would score 3 goals in 2:19 to completely embarrass the Hawks into an putrid 6-2 defeat.

The Good
- Lets not kid ourselves, this literally was the only bright spot for the Hawks. The shift in which Patrick Sharp scored on, was one of the best shifts I've seen him have in a long time. He danced around several Predators defenders, and undressed Rinne on the goal.
- Seriously, that's it.

The Bad
- I can't believe that I'm saying this, but I am going to defend Michal Rozsival tonight. Yes, I am not a fan of his, nor do I think he's an NHL defenseman anymore. The problem I have is all the bashing and pinning this entire loss all on him I saw on Twitter tonight. We get it, he's a terrible defenseman, but it was a colossal shit show on defense. I really enjoyed everyone blaming him for the Predators 4th goal. Yes, he got beat up the ice, but if Crawford controls the rebound and freezes the puck, the Predators never make it a 4-2 game. If you're going to blame anyone on that, look at the communication, or lack thereof between Duncan Keith and Crawford. I know I'll take heat for defending Rozsival, but whatever, I think its wrong to make one guy the scapegoat when it was quite obvious the ENTIRE team waved the white flag in the third period.
- The lazy lunge at the puck by Hossa on Josi's goal was something out of character by normally a defensively responsible Hossa. Needless to say, it wasn't all him, the entire team just waved their sticks carelessly thinking the period was over. Just rip my eyes out. I can't stand lazy plays like that, play till the damn horn.
- While they did yield one goal, the penalty kill did kill off three penalties. Which if that doesn't happen, then this game is 100 times worse.

The Ugly
- The effort in the last 10 minutes by the Blackhawks was completely pathetic. Their undisciplined play of turnovers, failing to clear the puck, careless play with the puck, and sloppiness all came back to bite them in the ass.
- Versteeg and Shaw certainly took their dickhead pills today and were running around like assholes all night. While Versteeg's third period penalty was a joy to see, I think the highlight was the hissy fit Shaw put on display by shooting the puck away from the linesman. Seriously, grow up. I'm sure the only one who enjoyed that was their fellow dickbag sitting in the press box named Gorilla Salad.
- Corey Crawford was awful in the third period. When the Hawks needed him to make a save, he couldn't delivery. Now one has to wonder which way Quenneville will go when it comes to naming a starter for Game 3. Might as well have a beer and flip a coin.
- Speaking in terms of playing bad, Johnny Oduya was so bad tonight, I had to check and make sure it wasn't Rozsival. But does anyone rip Oduya like they do Rozsival? No, its easier just to pick on one guy.
- The power play went 0 for 3, and while on a 4 minute power play could only muster one shot. That's beyond pathetic.


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