For the first time since March 23, 2011, The Blackhawks Corey Crawford recorded a regular season shut out. The Blackhawks closed out the ice show road trip with a 4-0-2 record while their league best season record stands at 10-0-2. Now the Hawks can finally head home to the United Center for some home cooking and a home crowd that should be crazier than ever after the great road start by the Hawks.
The first period was scoreless and the big board read that the Hawks led 10-3 on shots on goal, but the Predators had seven quality chances including a Nick Spaulding rebound attempt that slid across the crease and grazing the post but ended up harmlessly in the corner. The other quality chances for the Predators were shots that didn’t hit the net which has been a season long issue for the Predators so far in the early part of this shortened season. The Hawks at the end of the 1st put a lot of pressure on Pekka Rinne but he was standing tall and stopping all of the Hawks chances.
The scoring finally started when the Predators defensman kicked the puck right to Marcus Kruger stick and he buried a wrist shot to kick-start the Hawks offense. Just 1:06 later Duncan Keith shot bounced off Jonathan Toews chest for a 2-0 lead. The Predators offense which is averaging 2.2 goals a game was in trouble especially when they were being outshot 20-7 through two periods. Corey Crawford was not tested at all in the 2nd period as the Hawks dominated play and even when Kruger took the only penalty of the game for the Hawks, a hustling Brandon Saad created a Predators penalty to negate the PP. The Hawks Penalty Kill unit is still #1 in the NHL after giving up no goals on one chance.
The third period was much more of the same with the Hawks dominating play with the Predators not being able to match the Hawks speed and quickness. The Predators had a few more chances (10 shots on goal) in the third but were not able to crack Crawford. Crawford is doing exactly what the Hawks need right now by stopping everything he should while throwing in a few great stops. The only goal of the third period was scored by the hottest of all Blackhawks in Patrick Kane. Twitter really lit up after the Kane goal because of the angle it was scored on was very eerily the same as his Stanley Cup clinching goal in 2010. Kane is still 2nd in the league in scoring with 9 goals and 10 assists and his goal proves when your hot just throw it at the net and good thing have to happen!
A really good sign in the game was the even ice time Coach Quenneville dialed up with his defenseman. Johnny Oduya led the team in ice time but it was only 21:43, while Duncan Keith was third behind Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson with 20:28. Going into the compact season Keith and Brent Seabrook‘s playing time had to be worrisome but nights like tonight should make it easier the later the season becomes for the Hawks workhorses.
Now we can stop talking about the shutout drought/curse, so even though Mike Fisher‘s wife had a great night at the Grammy’s, it was all Blackhawks in Nashville Sunday night!
The next time we see the Hawks it will be in the best home uniform in the NHL against the Anaheim Ducks! I can’t wait to hear the National Anthemn and plenty of Chelsea Dagger!
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