Five Thoughts on Chicago Blackhawks victory over the Nashville Predators
By Stephen Yatsushiro
With the season becoming cloudier with the loss of Corey Crawford, the Blackhawks looked to find some rays of hope against the Nashville Predators.
The Chicago Blackhawks‘ season went from bad to worse when Corey Crawford went down with another concussion in their previous game against the San Jose Sharks. The ‘Hawks found their inner resolve in their darkest hour to earn a victory. Here are my Five Thoughts on how the ‘Hawks battled to defeat the Nashville Predators 2-1.
1 – The Riddle of the Rinne.
The Chicago Blackhawks came out with a decent effort in the first period. The ‘Hawks actually outshot the Predators 12-11 in the first, but could not beat Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. He’s often been their riddle of the Sphinx that can’t be solved.
The Blackhawks’ shooters eventually began to shoot over the net trying to overcome his size and agility, and you could feel their mounting frustration. It wouldn’t be until late in the second period that Gustav Forsling would finally beat him with a snap shot from the high left circle.
It’s always traffic in front that will solve the riddle of the Rinne.
2 -Two for the money
The ‘Hawks came out with a dominant second period. Tasked with a directive to give goalie Cam Ward support, they clamped down on the Predators’ offensive attack and kept tilting the ice the other way.
Chicago’s attack came in waves and eventually tied the game on Forsling’s snap shot. They managed to beat Rinne again with an Erik Gustafsson shot from the point that changed direction through traffic and past Rinne.
This was one of the ‘Hawks best periods this season.
We’ve said it time and time again; offense is created from good defense. This is the type of team defense that we’ve been waiting to see.
3 – Marcus Kruger is truly South Park Kenny
Just as Kenny gets killed in every episode, Marcus Kruger seems to get blown up in every game. With an innocent reverse check, ex-Hawk Ryan Hartman’s elbow met Kruger’s face for a TKO.
The blow sent Kruger to the locker room as the refs had to scrape off the blood from the ice. You have to feel for Kruger and his seemingly predestined fate.
4 – Citizen Enforcer Kane?
Talking about resolve, the unlikeliest enforcer for the ‘Hawks was none other than Patrick Kane.
In the first period, goalie Cam Ward became the victim of some extra hacking and whacking from the Predators. Kane delivered some sharp cross checks to Colton Sissons and backed Sissons into the net with his glove to his throat.
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Blackhawks fans were wondering which universe they woke up to in the morning. Good on Kane for demonstrating leadership and sticking up for his goalie.
5 – Rock ’em Sock ’em goalies.
The third period was highlighted with outstanding saves at both ends of the ice.
Cam Ward made several incredible saves as the Predators turned up the offensive heat in their quest to tie the game. On the other hand, the ‘Hawks had their share of primo scoring opportunities that Pekka Rinne somehow managed to stop.
Together, the exchange of scoring chances made for some pretty entertaining hockey.
With just under three minutes to play, Nashville coach Peter Laviolette pulled Rinne for the extra skater. In a flurry of scoring chances, Cam Ward made save after save to literally save the day.
The importance of Ward’s performance in net this season simply cannot be understated. Without him stepping up repeatedly in Crawford’s absences, this season could look significantly worse than it already does.
It was by far Ward’s best outing of the year as he totaled 30 saves. Additionally, it was also one of the team’s best team efforts defensively. It’s very nice to see the two of them finally coincide.
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And so the Chicago Blackhawks will head south to Dallas to face the Stars, who reside just two points out of the second wild card playoff spot. We’ll see if the ‘Hawks can develop some consistency and duplicate the effort they showed against the Predators. Onward.