Predators 2, Blackhawks 0

It’s hard to win when you can’t stay out of the box.

That was the story of the night for the Chicago Blackhawks.  In the first period, the Hawks spent the final 7 minutes trying to kill off penalties, including a 5-on-3.  Cristobal Huet was the best penalty killer and the score remained 0-0 after the first 20 minutes.

The second period was actually the Hawks best chance to get the go-ahead goal.  Unfortunatley, it took two horrendous power plays by them for the coaching staff to mercifully make an adjustment. 

During the aforementiong power plays, the Hawks went with Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Tomas Kopecky up front with Dave Bolland and Duncan Keith on the point.  Not surprisingly, the puck spent zero time in the Predators zone. 

They finally decided that Bolland wasn’t a good fit and went with Brian Campbell and Cam Barker at the point.  What resulted was some excellent pressure including their best chance when Kane teed up a shot from the top of the circles and put the puck right on Sharp’s stick with a wide open net staring back at him.  Sharp put the tip wide.

Shortly after this sequence, Barker took a bad penalty during Nashville’s only sustained pressure of the period.  Subsequently, the Predators didn’t disappoint.  Joel Ward tipped home a Francois Bouillion centering pass and the Predators had the only goal they’d need.

Then in the final 6 minutes with the Hawks desperate for the equalizer, Tomas Kopecky took a bad offensive zone penalty.  As soon as the Hawks killed that off, Brent Sopel went away for two minutes for hooking.  When the Hawks successfully killed that penalty off, there was just under 2 minutes left to play. 

Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist was called for goaltender interference and the Hawks had a 6-on-4.  There were a couple close calls but Pekka Rinne stood tall and their best shot at the end may have been foiled when Dave Scatchard slashed Patrick Kane’s right hand just as Kane was getting ready to feed a wide open Patrick Sharp.

The Predators picked up the loose puck and iced the win giving them their third win in four games, and once again proving they refuse to just go away and be bad. 


–Patrick Kane was, by far, the best player on the ice.  Without exaggerating, he probably could have had 4 assists if his teammates finished the excellent scoring chances he set up. 

–Kane and Patrick Sharp were finally re-united on a line towards the end of the second period.  Let’s hope it stays that way for a little bit.

–For a coach like Joel Quenneville who will shake up lines at the slightest hint of staleness, he really is a stubborn S.O.B. with a forward playing the point on the power play.  Whether it’s Dave Bolland or Patrick Sharp, his infatuation with this strategy is starting to get creepy.  Not to mention, it’s kinda, sorta destroying the Hawks power play.  They clearly have the personnel to succeed with the man advantage after last year’s dominance.  It would be nice if their coaching staff would put them in the best position to succeed.

While it was nice to see them finally shake up the power play unit in the second period with good results, they went right back to it at the end of the game by putting Dustin Byfuglien on one point and Duncan Keith at the other.  Meanwhile, their three best powerplay defensemen (all with just as good shots and better hands than the other two) sat on the bench.  Maybe that’s why it was so frustrating when Keith was unable to corral a wide open puck and forced the Hawks to regroup with only 30 seconds remaining.

–I suppose Keith could get the benefit of the doubt at the end of the game because the ice at the Sommett Center was a joke.  The puck was bouncing around like a racquet ball and for a team like the Hawks who controlled the puck for probably 65% of the time, it was maddening.

–And don’t forget kids, just keep jamming it towards the net and wait for someone to come on you.

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8 Responses to Predators 2, Blackhawks 0

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Gentlemen, let’s be honest. The Preds had a plan. Check, check, check, check, check, check and then check some more…and get a greasy goal.

    Executed to perfection.

    The Hawks’ forwards, except for Mssrs Kane and Madden, played like limp noodles.

    At least now we know goaltending isn’t a problem.

  2. Lou says:

    Nice summary, continued dumb penalties and our PP needs serious work. The Bolland/Sharp on the point is just plain wrong. Niether one of them have a big enough shot to be there. They were effective down low last year and that is where they need to stay. Since the power play is so bad, I think the coaches need to skate the conditioning drills with the players for these. The Buff experiment on the point may prove to be interesting. PPs are effective when you do take a shot or two. Hint, Hint, Hint!!!

    Ham again took another big block. He has a bright future and if you listened to Foley’s commentary, Scotty B thinks the same thing.

    Steeg as much has he improves he still is clueless beyond rationale understanding at times.. That pass backwards to Sopel in front of his net was just dumb. Sopel is good at a few things and skating the puck out of trouble is not one I like to see him do.

    Finally, for us to win the cup the team has to consistently elevate their game. So does the coaching. Q needs to fix the powerplay lines and frankly I think he needs to keep lines together. Chemistry of great lines develops when the regularly play together. Now, I am not saying stay the same or else every game but keep some tandems together so they can click. Sure injuries play a role but some folks are more effective when they stay with their lines and roles.

  3. AC says:

    I think everybody could see a game like this coming. We’ve been playing without our best offensive player all year and 2 of the top 3 offensive players for a week or so, so it stands to reason that we would have a couple of games where we wouldn’t be able to find the net. Watching Kane play the way he has, I hope he starts playing with Sharp or Hossa (when he gets here next month) because we could really start scoring there.

    It’s encouraging to see Huet playing better, even against bad teams. Now, get Barker, Campbell or Seabrook on point in the PP and stop taking these dumb penalties (I’m looking at Bolland and Kopecky here).

  4. Dave Morris says:

    Is it too much to ask the Hawks’ forwards to play consistently intelligent, physical hockey?

  5. Lou says:

    Only a few of them, Dave. Only a few of them. Madden has really helped and the return of Captain Serious and the debut of Marian Hossa will also help us.

    Looking for to the Original 6 matchup tonight. Now I will have seen all six teams!!!!!

  6. Tom says:

    “–And don’t forget kids, just keep jamming it towards the net and wait for someone to come on you.”

    Really, that’s all I picked up while watching the game. We had to rewind the game to make sure we heard it correctly. And we did.

  7. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> you mean only a few of the Hawks’ forwards are playing consistently intelligent, physical hockey?

    I’d agree with that.

    They better be better against Le Canadien.

    I went to Le Centre Bell to see their game last year…I’ll be generous and say the Hawks looked less than stellar that night.

  8. Lou says:

    what’s the scoop on the ladd hit?

    lots of post game scuttle on it.

    please elaborate.

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