Saturday, October 14, 2017

Blackhawks vs Predators
2-1 OT Win Recap

"Cutting Teeth"

by Gatekeeper

After taking their first regulation and home loss Thursday night against the Wild, the Blackhawks faced another division rival, the Predators. The Preds came in 0-2 on the road thus far. In fact, they started 0-2 on the road to open the season, and were able to claw back to .500 with a couple of home wins. Filip Forsberg came in as the hottest Nashville player in this young season with four goals and six points. Nashville was also nursing some injuries as defensemen Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis were not in the lineup. Nick Schmaltz missed his third straight game with an upper both injury sustained agains the Blue Jackets in game 2.

The two teams played a pretty hard and eventful first period, even though neither was able to get on the scoreboard. There were break-a-ways both ways, failed power plays, shorthanded chances, and great saves. All the things you need to have an entertaining scoreless game. Giving up 18 shots in a single period at home isn’t ideal, though. The Blackhawks managed 11 shots of their own, which was decent by comparison.

For a majority of the second period the Preds led in scoring chances and shots on net. With under two minutes remaining in the period, the Preds finally cracked the scoreboard, on the powerplay. Nashville led in shots and scoring chances again, 12-8.

In the third period, the Blackhawks actually looked like they cared. They came out and scored the game tying goal, late, while holding the Preds to only 8 shots. That effort was enough to get the game to overtime, which the Blackhawks were able to eventually score the game winner.

The Good
  • John Hayden came off his big fight the other night to continue impressing. He was thrown out on the ice for the penalty kill in the third period and singlehandedly took on three Preds players and got a solid shorthanded chance. Later he was reward by getting moved up with the third line and earned an assist.
  • It took almost 55 minutes, but the Blackhawks finally got their first goal with just over five minutes remaining. Cody Franson sealed the boards on and attempted Predators clear and puck landed at the feet of John Hayden. Hayden dumped the puck to Patrick Sharp, who headed for the net and beat Rinne.
  • Once the Blackhawks got to overtime, the Predators were just out of gas. The Toews, Kane, and Keith line ran the Nashville ragged. Once the line hit the ice for their second shift, the Preds were exhausted. Jonathan Toews went off for a change and Brandon Saad jumped on the ice in enough time to play give-and-go with Patrick Kane for the game winner.
  • the Blackhawks had a nice night at the faceoff dots, winning 58% of draws. Every Blackhawks center won at least 50%, including fill-in center Ryan Hartman
  • It took quite a comeback, but the Blackhawks battled back from the dead in possession numbers to almost pull even at 68-67.
  • Cody Franson actually had a good game. I think he's finally getting his feet under him. Just too bad it is at the expense of Connor Murphy. Even Gustav Forsling looked alright for the first time this season. This Murphy situation needs to be resolved pretty quickly.
  • Corey Crawford was incredible once again. He had another 37 saves, keeping his save percentage above .950, and currently leads the league in wins, goals against avg, and save percentage.

The Bad
  • The Blackhawks gave up yet another early shorthanded breakaway and a few other excellent chances while on the powerplay. Of course, their goalie bailed them out so we won’t hear much about it. I would have loved to blame the 4-1 setup they have been using but both of the solid chances had 2 defensemen on the ice. Now there is really no excuse.
  • The Golden Midget took another hard hit, this time from behind, in the second period and got up slow. He also spent extended time on the bench, following the hit.
  • Speaking of the Golden Midget, I hate when the broadcast team completely ignores questionable plays that should lead to criticism. In the third period, DeBrincat was on the powerplay and left back as the only defender. With forwards bearing down, he backed almost into Corey Crawford’s face and then just “fell” to his knees when the puck carrier cut to the left.
  • Joel Quenneville rolled out the line blender, again, in the third period. He moved DeBrincat with Hartman and Kane, then had Sharp, with Anisimov and Hayden. This moved Tanner Kero back to the fourth line.

The Ugly
  • A late second period powerplay turned into the first goal of the game. An offensive zone penalty gave Nashville all the opportunity they needed.
  • I want to know who is telling these analysts that “The scouting report is that Pekka Rinne is really good at playing the puck”, because that period is terrible at their job. Rinne is average when he is at his best. If you pressure him, he is terrible. Stop telling people he's good at it!

The Lineblender
Left Wing - Center - Right Wing
Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Richard Panik
Ryan Hartman - Tanner Kero - Patrick Kane
Patrick Sharp - Artem Anisimov - Alex Debrincat
Lance Bouma - Tommy Wingels - John Hayden

Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook
Michal Kempny - Cody Franson
Gustav Forsling - Jan Rutta


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