A thoroughly poor effort in Game 2 leaves the Chicago Blackhawks with little positives to take with them to Nashville for Games 3 and 4, as a complete strategical overhaul and better effort will be needed
Well, Chicago Blackhawks fans, there isn’t a whole lot for me to get into here. The ’Hawks dropped Game 2 of their first-round series with the Nashville Predators with a humiliating 5-0 loss.
I typically enjoy analyzing both the positives and negatives of even the most painful Blackhawks’ losses, but I’m finding myself struggling to grasp a particularly tangible positive that we can take away from the ‘Hawks’ effort in Game 2 tonight.
Defensively, the Blackhawks lost races up and down the lineup throughout the game. They showed little ability to win 50/50 pucks in the corners and in front of their netminder Corey Crawford.
As was previously discussed, the ‘Hawks continued their painful trend of trying to force terribly selected shots through heavy traffic from the point. Johnny Oduya and Brent Seabrook pounded away at Predators’ shin-pads more than I think I’ve ever seen. Shot selection was poor again in this one.
Offensively speaking, it’s difficult to put my finger on exactly what is causing the Blackhawks to struggle so desperately against a team they have shown an ability to effectively defeat throughout the season.
My most educated guess would be their inability to work the puck down low. The majority of the ‘Hawks’ offense is coming from low-percentage areas. They will need to cycle the puck below the goal line to open up the slot if they have any shot at this series moving forward.
It also seems that throughout the first two games of the series. the Blackhawks have been unable to win toss-up pucks in front of Pekka Rinne. Those bang-bang plays that lie in the slot need to be cleaned up before the ‘Preds are able to clear the crease.
Goaltending has been largely average. Crawford hasn’t given up a plethora of soft goals, but he hasn’t looked exactly stellar, either.
The extracurricular activities in the final minute from Ryan Hartman were discouraging and unacceptable. It was eerily reminiscent of Andrew Shaw’s meltdown last year, and should not be encouraged in any way.
So to Nashville we go, hopefully with a clean slate. If this team has consistently shown us one thing, it’s that we should never be quick to dismiss the Blackhawks’ ability to fight back when they are down. They are a tremendously difficult team to eliminate, and I have every faith that they will show some sort of pulse in Game 3.
Perhaps playing down in the Music City will provide a less stressful environment for the Blackhawks, who thrived on the road throughout the regular season. It’s certainly fair to call Game 3 a “must win” for the Blackhawks.
All things considered, ‘Hawks fans, do not write this team off. They are proven warriors and champions. They will not go gently into that good night. They are still in the fight.