Saturday, October 15, 2016

Blackhawks at Predators
3-2 Loss Recap

"Scary's On His Way"

by Patrick Stankus

On Friday night the Blackhawks took to the road for the first time of the 2016-17 in the first of a home and home matchup with the Nashville Predators. The Hawks were coming off an opening night loss to the Blues in which their special teams, mainly the PK didn't look so special. Its hard to say that the first weekend of a season is important, but for the sake of all the new faces on this team, the Hawks can't afford to dig themselves too big of a hole early on. If that does happen, Lord only knows how bad Q's ulcers will flare up later in the season.

Once the puck dropped in Nashville, the Hawks did their best to silence the crowd. Just over two minutes in, Marcus Kruger put the Hawks on the board first, with his first goal of the season. Nashville however answered back 5 minutes later, as P.K. Subban added his first goal as a Predator, on the power play to tie the game at one. The blueline scoring theme continued in the first as Niklas Hjalmarsson and Roman Josi traded goals in the final 11 minutes of the period. Despite being out shot 11-5 in the period, the Hawks would head into the intermission tied at two.

The second period would take on a different tone than that of the first period. Instead of four goals, we were treated to two fights, one involving Captain Jonathan Toews. One theme that continued for the Hawks in the period was that of their parade to the penalty box. Anisimov took two penalties in the period, one of which the Preds cashed in on to take a 3-2 lead. After 40 minutes, the Predators held the lead in shots (21-11) and on the scoreboard, with the 3-2 lead.

In the final frame, the Hawks finally showed some sort of urgency in their game by peppering Pekka Rinne with 13 shots. Rinne however had the answer for all of them. His save of the game came on Vinnie Hinostroza late in the game. The defense finally clamped down on the Preds and held them to just 6 shots. However it was all for not as the Predators hung on for the 3-2 lead. Its a quick turnaround for both teams, as they'll travel to Chicago overnight to complete the home and home series on Saturday night.

The Good
  • You're goddamn right Marcus Kruger scoring a goal for the first time since April of 2015 is going in the good category. I just hope Brian Hedger was able to see it.
  • Kruger scoring wasn't the only shock on the scoresheet for the Hawks. Niklas Hjalmarsson also scored in his season debut, after being suspended for the opener.
  • Everyone got their wish on defense, as TVR was a healthy scratch. Now if Q will just play him on the bottom pair where he belongs.

The Bad
  • The second period saw two Blackhawks players drop the gloves. Jordin Tootoo being one wasn't surprising, but Jonathan Toews being the other was. I didn't have a problem with the Tootoo fight as it came after Anthony Bitetto took a run at Patrick Kane. I get that fight. The Toews fight however I could live without. Yes, we all know James Neal is a ballbag, but I don't need to see Toews drop the gloves because he got slashed. Let your face punchers on the team handle that.
  • The Hawks tried their best to hand this game to the Preds in the first period. Nashville out shot the Hawks by a 11-5 margin and also had 3 power play opportunities.
  • If we're going to take the Derek approach when it comes to judging a goalie (see his tweets about Rinne during World Cup of Hockey) then after tonight I have to say Pekka Rinne is the best goalie in the world. Okay, see how bat shit crazy that sounds? Nevertheless Rinne was great in net for the Preds tonight. Which if he can return to that solid form all season, that could spell trouble for the Central Division.
  • Ryan Hartman left the game after getting his leg tangled up. After the game Q said Hartman "will miss some time". Would the next Andrew Shaw clone please stand up?

The Ugly
  • Someone please inform the Predators they are not the Los Angeles Kings. Only one team is allowed in the NHL to rock the yellow lids, and its the Kings when they wear the throwbacks.
  • After two games, its no time to panic, but holy shit the penalty kill is awful. Tonight they yielded three goals  to the Predators. Terrific. I guess the only positive is, it can only get better from here right?
  • Seeing Ryan Johansen have 3 assists flat out made me want to vomit.
  • The power play for the Hawks was just as bad as the penalty kill tonight. The power play ended the night a solid 0-4.
  • THIS......


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