Dec 29, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) scores a goal against Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne (35) during the shootout at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks defeat the Nashville Predators 5-4 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
It wasn’t always pretty, but that’s just fine. The Chicago Blackhawks recovered from a 1st period 3-goal deficit to defeat the Nashville Predators in the shootout by a score of 5-4, and have padded their lead in the Central Division.
The first period started off as a sort of icing derby but eventually settled into the Hawks controlling play aside from a few turnovers. At 9:45 of the first, the Hawks would get an opportunity to keep their suddenly hot Power Play rolling when Colin Wilson hooked Marcus Kruger to give the Hawks a 2:00 Power Play.
Immediately after the Hawks failed to convert on the man-advantage, the Hawks coughed up the puck, which lead to Nashville defenseman, Roman Josi finding the back of the net to give the Predators a 1-0 lead at 11:50 of the first.
After Josi’s ice-breaking goal, the Hawks started peppering Predator’s goaltender, Pekka Rinne, with chances up until Brandon Saad took an interference penalty at 15:05. The Hawks were able to technically kill the penalty, but Nashville kept the puck in the Hawks’ zone, and seconds later, they took a 2-0 lead off of Craig Smith‘s wrist-shot.
That would be the end of the scoring, as the Predators would take the 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
It didn’t take long for the Hawks to get t work in the 2nd period, as Marian Hossa was able to draw a penalty from Taylor Beck, on a slash. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they were unable to generate anything on the man-advantage, largely thanks to Nashville’s shot blocking and to make matters worse, Johnny Oduya would give the Predators a turn on the Power Play as he hooked Mike Ribeiro right as Nashville’s penalty expired.
However, the Hawks top-ranked Penalty Kill would kill off the Predators Power Play as the game was finally back to 5-on-5 play. However, no momentum would be built from the kill, and the Predators kept piling it on as James Neal would make it 3-0 Predators as he capitalized on a Johnny Oduya turnover.
A man-advantage opportunity would present itself yet again, for the Hawks, as Shea Weber would head to the box for high-sticking Daniel Carcillo. The Hawks would actually generate some chances on this Power Play, but to no avail. Just as Weber’s penalty expired, though, Brad Richards would find the back of the net to put the Hawks on the board and make it 3-1 Preds, at 10:33 of the 2nd period.
They weren’t done yet, either. Andrew Shaw would make an incredible play to find the back of the net, end his 10-game pointless streak and bring the Hawks within a goal.
After a scrum following Rinne freezing the puck, Patrick Sharp and Roman Josi would take offsetting penalties to make it a 4-on-4 game, for 2 minutes. However, Mattias Ekholm would hold Patrick Kane to make it a 4-on-3 advantage for the Hawks. Despite the previous Power Play failures, for the Hawks, Marian Hossa would right the ship and the game at 3.
The tie would be short-lived, though, as the Hawks would be called for too many men on the ice, James Neal would quickly solve the Hawks’ potent Penalty Killers at 19:04 of the 2nd, to give Nashville a 4-3 lead that would take into the dressing room, for the 2nd intermission.
While the Hawks were looking very disjointed, midway through the 3rd, Roman Josi would cross-check Jonathan Toews to give the Hawks an opportunity to keep the Power Play rolling and possibly tie the game up. Despite some good chances, Rinne was them to say no, and keep preserve the Predator’s lead.
As the game wound down, and Corey Crawford was headed to the bench in favor of an extra skater, with about a minute and a half remaining in the game, Bryan Bickell was able to sneak a puck past Rinne to tie the game at 4 and ultimately send it to overtime.
During the overtime period, the Hawk dominated play, but Rinne was able to keep them out of his net and eventually send the game to the shootout.
A huge win of the most epic proportions that a midseason game can bring should do wonders and say wonders for and about the Hawks. Rather than falling out of 1st place, the Hawks clawed their way to a comeback win to pad their lead in the Central Division to 4 points.
A big character win and now a couple days off to regroup and get ready to take it outside against the Washington Capitals, on New Years Day in the 2015 Winter Classic!