Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks: 3 Reasons For Concern After 2 Games

By George Clifford
Oct 14, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators players and fans celebrate after a win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 14, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Nashville Predators players and fans celebrate after a win over the Chicago Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Blackhawks take ill-timed penalties, special teams continue to struggle in second straight loss

In a startlingly similar replay of Wednesday night’s loss to St. Louis, the Chicago Blackhawks gave up two early leads and three powerplay goals to the Nashville Predators, who prevailed 3-2 in their season opener last night at Bridgestone Arena.

Playing in front of a raucous Smashville crowd amped up by the arrival of P.K. Subban, the Blackhawks got on the board first when Marcus Kruger crashed the net for a tip-in and his first goal since May 20, 2015.  

However, just like the Blues game, the Blackhawks’ 5-on-5 momentum was stalled throughout the game by a parade of questionable, ill-timed penalties, and their inability to foil the Predators powerplay would lead to all three Nashville goals.

Porous PK Unit Fails AgainOn the Preds’ first power play, Subban blew the roof off with his first goal wearing the Nashville sweater when his rising blast from the top of the key beat Crawford and tied the score at 1-1.Although Niklas Hjalmarsson

Story was much the same in the second period with Artem Anisimov taking a delay of game penalty which Mike Fisher quickly converted what would be the game-winning goal on a deflection.    
Passive vs. Aggressive Penalty Kill
There are different strategies for executing the penalty kill. The Blackhawks play a more passive approach in which the PK unit collapses to protect the ‘house’ with active sticks and force puck movement around the perimeter, only pressuring the puck on a 50-50 mishandle or along the boards.

The more aggressive Nashville PK unit works to constantly pressure the puck handler and challenge the point and half-board positions.

All three Predators powerplay goals last night were launched from high on the perimeter with minimal pressure on the shooter. The Hawks have killed off only 5 of 11 penalties (45 percent) in its first two games.
Powerplay Woes
The Hawks continue to struggle on the man advantage, coming up empty on all four attempts last night and going 1 of 8 in the first two games.

The Hawks really only generated dangerous scoring chances on one power play late in the game, but goalie Pekka Rinne came up big to seal the win for Nashville. With special teams failing to execute early in the season, Coach Joel Quenneville will need to make some adjustments for tonight’s rematch at the United Center.

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