Stop me if you’ve heard this one before recently: the Blackhawks got a short-handed goal in the first period and that was the sum of their offense.
With Richard Panik in the box and 26 seconds left in the first period, Artem Anisimov scored his second of the season short-handed to give Chicago a 1-0 lead.
The difference between Friday night and many recent Blackhawks games, however, was the push they put on the opponents offensively. The Hawks out-shot 21-7 in the first period but scored only once; Pekka Rinne was good, but they didn’t get enough traffic in front of Nashville’s netminder.
Only three Blackhawks skaters – Panik, Lance Bouma and Jan Rutta – failed to put a shot on net in the opening 20 minutes.
It took just 57 seconds into the second period for Calle Jarnkrok to tie the game. And at 11:02, Craig Smith scored a power play goal to give Nashville a lead they wouldn’t surrender.
Chicago put another push on in the third but couldn’t beat Rinne.
When the dust settled, the Blackhawks matched their season-high for shots on goal with 44 – a mark they established against Pittsburgh on Opening Night. The penalty kill was good for the Hawks, holding Nashville to one goal on six advantages. But the Blackhawks own power play continues to be a dumpster fire; they were 0-6 on Friday night.
Corey Crawford had a good game, stopping 28 of 30 without much help – a theme that is becoming increasingly frustrating.
Patrick Sharp won three of six faceoffs and put a team-leading six shots on net. Jonathan Toews won half of his 24 faceoffs and put five shots on net in 22:41 on the ice. Patrick Kane put five shots on net and skated 19:22 even while spending four minutes in the penalty box in the third period.
Nick Schmaltz led the Hawks with four takeaways and put three shots on net in 19:11. He won seven of 20 faceoffs.
Alex DeBrincat was supposed to see more time with Toews and Brandon Saad but the amount of special teams play got in the way. He skated 13:35 but with only one shot on net and a blocked shot.
John Hayden also got bumped up the lineup – in theory – but ended up skating only 11:25. He was credited with two shots on net and zero hits, but was physical. He got chippy with a couple Nashville players including PK Subban, which led to Hayden getting called for hooking with eight seconds left in the second period.
Duncan Keith skated 25:35 and put four shots on net while blocking four Preds attempts.
The Blackhawks have now scored 14 goals in their last seven games. The power play is a massive disappointment, and the offense as a whole is now a major concern.