On the night that former Blackhawk Ed Belfour was honored by the Chicago Blackhawks, the goalie sitution reared its ugly head again at the United Center Sunday night. The Hawks riding high, but short-handed, were given a giant serving of humble pie by the visiting Nashville Predators. The 6-1 loss to the Predators can basically end,, the talk and hopes of the Blackhawks clinching the #4 seed. After watching another loss to the Predators another thing that Hawks need to do come playoff time is avoid this team at all costs!
When the Hawks are successful against Nashville, its because they get off to a fast start and get a lead. This didn’t not happen on Sunday. Nashville got the puck past Corey Crawford early and often and sprinted out to a 2-0 lead at the first intermission. This game was over as soon as Matt Halischuk scored the first goal of the game. Nashville system is tough enough to beat, and they are now 31-4-2 when scoring first. Their defensive system is boring to watch, and really cramps down when they get a lead.
The two big areas of concern after watching the Hawks tonight is 1. The huge elephant on the ice— The Power Play!!!! It’s so painful to watch! They play better at full strength than they do with the man advantage! They spent most of the time on each power play behind their own net trying to set up a play that would fail epically, and then they would all meet up again behind Crawford. The 2nd is the faceoff circle! All Hawks fans have become very spoiled over the past 5 seasons watching Jonathan Toews win face off after face off, but can anyone else on this team win one?? I’m glad to hear that Towes has skated 5 consecutive days, but I still find it hard to believe he finds ice time before the playoffs begin. Bonus concern would be the goaltending, Crawford only stopped 11-15 shots. Ray Emery came in and watched Shea Weber blow one right through his legs. Emery stopped 7-9 shots. This was not what the Hawks needed from their goalies. They have to stop all the shots that need to be stopped. Everything except for the double skate deflection goal should have been stopped! Who will start Tuesday night is anybodys guess now.
The one thing the Hawks won was the only fight of the night! Brandon Bollig got his fight in for the contest, and in the process knocked out Jordin Tootoo from the game. It didn’t matter much when six different Predators found the back of the net!
The Hawks only goal of the night was scored by Viktor Stalberg on the tail end of a power play in the third period which ruined Pekka Rinne shutout attempt. He was solid though stopping 23 of 24 shots.
A dissappointed end to the Hawks 9-1-1 run to say the least. This pretty much seals the deal for #6 seed unless the loss of Duncan Keith on the back end forces the Hawks into a free fall in their final 6 games. Hopefully this is just a speed bump and not a 4 game rut! After watching many many Chicago teams fall on their face at the end of the season, this Hawks team cannot let that painful replay reel play. Learn from tonight and take out their vengence on the Devil errr New Jersey Devils Tuesday night. Humble pie is not tasty, but it’s can give proper motivation for further actions!!
Let’s Go Hawks!!!