Blackhawks 2, Predators 0

Last week, the Nashville Predators gave an uncharacteristically shallow performance in a 3-1 loss to the Blackhawks.  This time, their effort was much stronger. 

Unfortunately for them, the result wasn’t. 

After a back-and-forth first period saw neither team chalk a tally, the Hawks struck first blood almost midway through the second.  Dustin Byfuglien cleaned up the garbage after Nashville goalie Dan Ellis coughed up the tiniest of rebounds on a Patrick Kane shot. 

Just over a minute later, Andrew Ladd did the same thing after jumping over Cam Barker’s point shot.  Ellis left another rebound in front and the Hawks quickly had a 2-0 lead. 

The deficit didn’t stop the Predators from trying to come back.  They were putting shots on net from everywhere on the ice.  Cristobal Huet turned them away each time, but the Predators were letting their presence be known at each frozen puck.  It seemed like Patric Hornqvist and J.P. Dumont were standing in front of Huet every time he got a whistle.

In the third, the Hawks continued to put themselves in the penalty box taking three penalties in the final frame, two of which Byfuglien was guilty of.  Fortunately for them, Nashville was just as generous by also taking three penalties.

Nashville kept the pressure on especially in the final ten minutes, but each time, Huet and the Hawks had an answer.  The only drama at the end was whether Huet would hold on for the shutout.  With two Predators in the penalty box, it was hard for them to sustain any pressure and Huet had his first shutout of the season. 

Quickies

–Brent Sopel played in 23 minutes.  That is easily the most he’s played in two years.  He also may have saved a goal in the second when a Huet rebound skied in the air.  The puck very easily could have landed right in the crease where a stationary Hornqvist could have banged it in.  Instead, Sopel batted the puck away with his hand and into the corner to avert the threat. 

–The much maligned Hawks fourth line put together a respectable performance with some solid forechecking and pressure.  I would venture to guess Jake Dowell will probably get to stick around a bit this time even when Toews returns.  Not to take away anything they did tonight, but they were playing Nashville.  The true tests will come when they play better teams. 

–After having an incredibly unlucky start to his season combined with less than stellar play, it was good to see Cristobal Huet finally getting some fortuitous bounces around the crease.

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6 Responses to Blackhawks 2, Predators 0

  1. Dave Morris says:

    “I think I was more aggressive and more desperate tonight. And that’s something I have to keep doing the rest of the season.”

    These words from Monsieur Cristobal Huet can serve not only as a mantra for himself, but the rest of the team.

    Cristo’s effort was easily the best we’ve seen this year, and evoked his excellent performance during Game 5 of ’09 WCF.

    The worst thing the Hawks could have done was take Nashville, who previously overwhelmed the Senators with six goals, lightly…

    …as the good ol’ hockey game proves time and time again, teams that are ‘struggling’ ‘have nasty ways of coming to life again.

    The Preds came in, confident. The Hawks were fluttering. A potential recipe for a third successive loss.

    Instead, not only did the Blackhawks play as a T-E-A-M…everyone kept their focus, and their game ‘simple’, as the cliche goes.

    The absence of two of their most important players only emphasizes the importance of this victory. It’s just one in a marathon season, but wins like this can have a galvanizing effect on a club.

    Like Cristo said…they were all more aggressive and more desperate tonight. You could add ‘smarter’ to that list of adjectives.

    And that’s something they have to keep doing the rest of the season.

    After 10 games…top of the Central. One of the best defensive records in the West. .650 win percentage. If that’s where they want to be, and are prepared to play like this every night?

    Here Come The Hawks.

  2. Sox Machine says:

    So apparently I’m an idiot and didn’t realize until last night that WGN Radio streams games for free.

    Maybe I’ll actually be able to contribute to the conversation more instead of just reading to get filled in on the nuance.

  3. Lou says:

    Sopel made that great save in the second. It was a nice recovery for them after the d got beat to give up the scoring chance. But he did what he was supposed to do all night and even got off a couple of nice shots. he did play good but tell me he is not the Hunchback of Madison on Skates. He has one ugly skating style.

    The D was was solid and Huet did a good job on the goalmouth scrums. I think if he would have got hacked one more time he was going to stick someone.

    The other thing we need to teach our guys is if fome one puts your stick in your armpit, put the arm down and draw the hooking. There was a blatant one in the first that we didn’t quite do that on.

    Bring on Havlat and let’s see if we can help send his +/- further into the negative!

    Finally, Buff really skated through some checks. However, his penalties nullifying power plays really hurt our ability to get that struggling phase of the game on track.

  4. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> Brent The Bashful was seen strapping on some goalie pads during practice…this may been, however, simply his idea for an upcoming Hallowe’en costume.

    Re: Metro Marty Havlat, be gentle with His Havvyness….he’s the sensitive type. Maybe send him a Twitter saying McD wants to take him out for a Happy Meal and mend fences. You know.

    😉

  5. JDNoce says:

    Watched highlights of Wings/Avs last night. I know the Wings are banged up, but…I don’t know.
    Maybe they’re just sleepwalking right now.
    We’ll see.

  6. Dave Morris says:

    @JD> you might want to read Jim Devellano’s interview.
    http://www.kuklaskorner.com/index.php/a2y/comments/jimmy_d_we_suck_and_were_going_to_keep_sucking_all_season_long/

    Mind you, I never dismiss the Red Wings.

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