The Chicago Blackhawks are having a tough week.
Losing to the Colorado Avalanche, in Denver, while still, out-chancing them, is one thing, but losing at home, to the last place Nashville Predators is quite another.
The first period started off with the Blackhawks hogging all of the scoring chances, and the Predators losing the puck, due to excellent stick-work, from the Blackhawks’ blueliners. It took Nashville over 10 minutes to register their first shot on goal. That lone shot opened some sort of floodgate, for the Predators, as they were able to sustain some real pressure, in the Hawks’ zone, for the next few minutes, and eventually Mike Fisher would find the back of the net, for Nashville, making it 1-0 Predators, at 15:33, of the first period.
For the 2nd consecutive game, Marcus Kruger committed a delay of game penalty, and for the 2nd consecutive game, it cost the Hawks, as Patric Hornqvist buried the puck, behind Corey Crawford, to make it 2-0 Nashville.
Just as it was looking like the Predators were going to take a 2-0 lead, into the 1st intermission, the captain, Jonathan Toews, was able to break free, from the Predators’ defense, and after a give and go, with Kris Versteeg, the captain snapped a clutch one, past Pekka Rinne, to bring the Hawks within one goal, as the buzzer would sound, with Nashville holding a 2-1 lead, over the Blackhawks, after one period of play.
Much like the first period, the second period started off with the Hawks controlling the chances, but coming up short in a series of “just misses”. Half-way through the 2nd, Sheldon Brookbank took an interference penalty, and much like the first period, it looked like Nashville was about to add to their score, near the 10 minute mark. This time, however, the Hawks’ Penalty Kill would get back to it’s recent dominance, and kill the penalty off, keeping the score 2-1.
Patrick Kane was able to draw a penalty, from Ryan Ellis, for holding, to give the Hawks their first Power Play, which would last through the end of the 2nd period, with the score, still, 2-1 Nashville.
The Hawks’ Power Play would continue, into the 3rd period, and it would end up hurting them, as well. Right as Nashville’s penalty expired, Ellis jumped out of the penalty box, to find a lonely, rolling puck, which he snagged, for a breakaway, and beat Crawford, to give the Predators a 3-1 lead, early in the 3rd period.
After being shutdown, by Rinne, most of the night, the Hawks caught a break, when Peter Regin was able to get a puck to trickle by the Nashville netminder, to bring the Hawks within a goal, half-way through the 3rd, making the score 3-2 Predators.
The Regin goal would turn out to be all of the rallying, the Hawks would be able muster up, as they the Predators would hold on, to win, in Chicago, by a score of 3-2.
That makes two losses, in a row, and this one was to a last place team, at home. The Blackhawks have to be better, and they will have to regroup and prepare to take on their former rival, Detroit Red Wings, Sunday, at the United Center.