Finally, the Blackhawks found the answer for the Predators Martin Erat. His name, Jack Skille. For the second game in a row against Nashville, Skille potted two goals. Four of his six goals this year have come against the Preds.
His first on the night was a thing of beauty. Sprung from a Dave Bolland pass, Skille beat the Nashville defenseman around the corner and from a tight angle, roofed a shot right over Anders Lindback’s shoulder. The goal gave the Hawks a 2-0 lead at the time.
Then in the third, a loose puck at the Predator blue line found Skille’s stick. With Kevin Klein providing the screen, Skille let it rip from 45 feet. The puck beat Lindback clean to the blocker side and those goals were all the Hawks needed.
The Hawks did enough defensively by blocking shots and clogging lanes and Corey Crawford was strong enough in the net when the Hawks defense broke down. So pretty much, the Hawks used the Predator formula for success against them.
—Though it still may be too early to tell, at the end of the season, we may look back on this stretch without Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane as the biggest blessing in disguise. Not only are the Hawks winning games, they’re doing it with a collection of guys who aren’t normally expected to carry the team. When Hossa and Kane come back, it’s only going to make the team that much stronger. Joel Quenneville will know he can count on a certain group of guys for whatever the situation may call for. As opposed to before the two injuries when Quenneville didn’t trust certain players as far as he could throw them.
–Another two point night from Dave Bolland, break out the champagne. Not that it really makes a difference to anything, but has anyone checked Bolland’s pulse during the game? When the Hawks score and he’s out on the ice, he doesn’t really possess the joy of a happy human. The camera showed him after Jack Skille scored his first of the night and Bolland looked like they were heading the other way for an icing. Meanwhile, Skille was doing his patented ‘scoop the ice cream’ celebration.
–Not a bad little run here for Bryan Bickell. He scored another goal and was a +3. In the first period, he nearly snapped off another wrist shot from the top of the circles but Lindback got it with his glove. One of the few he caught cleanly on the night.
–Brian Campbell, your on-ice leader among defenseman once again. Amazing.