Pull the curtains. The Chicago Blackhawks lost their season finale to the Nashville Predators 5-2. After taking a 2-0 lead in the first frame, The Blackhawks completely fell apart. It was only fitting to give up five unanswered goals to lose a hockey game in a season like this.
1. Cam Ward Is a Legend
Yeah, we said it and yes we can back this up. Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Cam Ward has been an unspoken hero this year. He’s been the punching bag for almost everything that went wrong this year up until everyone woke up and saw how horrid the teams’ defense was. Ward made 45 saves on 49 shots tonight, still holding a .918 save percentage. He was the ONLY reason the ‘Hawks even had a chance in this game, as the Preds had 22 shots in the second period alone.
Save after save, he was remarkable. However, his performance was a reflection on who he’s been on this team all year. In the games that Corey Crawford has been injured, Ward has a 13-6-2 record. He steps up big when he’s counted on and we’re lucky to have that. Thank you, Ward.
2. Duncan Keith, Where’d You Go?
Duncan Keith‘s actions were another example of how this game reflected the entire season. I’m not exactly too sure what I was watching tonight, to be honest. Keith was certainly overwhelmed, but I haven’t seen him that overwhelmed in a very long time.
As a -3, It’s time we admit that Keith really isn’t the defenseman he used to be for the Chicago Blackhawks and tonight truly showed how much time has passed since 2015, where he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Stanley Cup Playoffs’ Most Valuable Player.
Time was our ally at one point. Now, it’s reminding us that nothing lasts forever.
Duncan Kieth, where’d you go? I miss you so!
3. Patrick Kane Isn’t Human, End of Story.
More from Blackhawk Up
- Blackhawks: Three Noticeable Improvements in Comeback Win vs Blues
- Blackhawks: Key Takeaways from 3-2 win over the Blues
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
Midway through the first period, Patrick Kane put on a spectacle. Below the goal line in the corner, Kane dished a somehow-beautiful pass to Drake Caggiula through FIVE Predators on the ice. The puck went through every opposing player right to Caggiula, who would bury his twelfth goal of the year and score the last goal of the Chicago Blackhawks season.
Yeah, it doesn’t make sense. This is yet another reflection on how amazing Kane has been all year for the ‘Hawks, and why he should be a prioritized candidate for the Hart Memorial Trophy with 44 goals, 66 assists, and 110 points on the year.
Just can’t beat the kid.
4. Brendan Perlini Is Getting Comfortable.
No one expected Brendan Perlini to become a second-liner. No one expected him to score 12 goals with the Chicago Blackhawks either, but here here is -and he’s becoming a fan favorite. After being traded to the ‘Hawks from the Arizona Coyotes alongside Dylan Strome, he instantly found a home in Chicago.
Tonight reminded us of how a seemingly-unworthy forward can actually make a difference. Versus the Preds, he had four shots on goal and buried his twelfth goal of the year on the second line!
Will he be a second-liner next year? Probably not, but it was nice knowing he can make a difference logging nearly 12 minutes and making his presence known.
5. Eyes Focused On Next Year.
It’s another short year for the Chicago Blackhawks, who will have a lot of time to get things prepared and focus on how to fix this roster (specifically the defense) come summer. It may suck now, and the roster might take some dramatic change on the backend. But remember, it’s in good faith and we can only go up from here, we hope.
Right now, forget about this season that was nearly gone to waste with all of the individual success this team had. 2019-2020 might have a different script than 2018-2019, and we have to put our faith in the shaking hands of Stan Bowman, who must save this team if he wants to keep his job.
Take a breather, Chicago Blackhawks fans. It’s time for the future.
It’s time for change.