Blackhawks Escape Predators

After dominating for 40 minutes, the Blackhawks gave away a two-goal lead in the third period against Nashville on Monday night. Thankfully, they emerged with the second point in the shootout.

It’s almost becoming cliche, but Jonathan Toews’ performance against the Preds could be submitted as his tape for Hart Trophy consideration this season. Chicago’s captain assisted on Brandon Saad’s first period goal, won 17 of 22 faceoffs and was credited with seven takeaways on the night. Toews skated 24:12 in the game.

Toews’ ice time was increased because Dave Bolland didn’t return after the first period. He appeared to be injured blocking a shot in the first period and was limited to only only eight shifts. Bolland did win six of eight faceoffs and was credited with one hit before his early departure.

Bolland is reportedly day-to-day with a lower-body injury.

Even without Bolland in the second, the Hawks extended their lead to two with Patrick Kane’s 19th goal of the season. When the first two periods ended, the Hawks had a 27-11 shot advantage.

Unfortunately, that dominance quickly faded in the third period. The Hawks struggled to clear the zone for almost two full minutes early in the third, and David Legwand poked a puck through Corey Crawford that he was trying to control. Less than four minutes later, Taylor Beck beat Crawford to tie the game.

A game that appeared to be completely controlled by the Hawks was now in question. Nashville controlled the third period, out-shooting the Hawks 15-9 and forcing overtime. The five extra minutes ended without a tally, and the game came to a finish in the skills competition.

And, of course, Michal Rozsival won the game for the Blackhawks in the shootout.

The Preds wouldn’t have had a chance to come back if Pekka Rinne hadn’t played a phenomenal first two periods. In the game, Rinne stopped 38 of 40 Chicago shots, many of which were in traffic. He has deserved a better outcome more than once this season, but once again a fantastic performance was wasted.

For the Hawks, Crawford stopped 25 of 27 shots and came up big in the shootout. After allowing the game-tying goal, he made a number of big saves late in the third period to keep the Blackhawks alive.

The Blackhawks are off until Thursday, when the St. Louis Blues visit the United Center. With the trade deadline on Wednesday, the next couple days could be very interesting around the Western Conference. The Blues will be joined in Chicago by defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who they acquired from Calgary on Monday evening.

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11 Responses to Blackhawks Escape Predators

  1. Dark Bird says:

    Tab, do you see Bowman making any more additions to this roster before the deadline?
    Or do you think he’s biding time until they’re healthy again?

  2. Tab Bamford says:

    There are a few teams tring to get extensions done with veterans over the next 24 hours. If those get done, the Hawks might be done with Handzus. But I do think there’s something to the Hawks looking to add another top-four defenseman for the stretch-run.

    Frankly, I would like to see Ryan Stanton get a call to at least practice/scrimmage with the NHL roster this year. He’s been solid in Rockford over the last couple years. Of course, Chicago’s blue line is stacked with seven NHL skaters already, but I like Stanton’s game.

  3. RyanDale says:

    Thanks Tab…Not sure how best to describe Crawford’s effort tonight, Let’s just say he had a HUGE impact!!. Playing the Predators it is most important to be patient offensively. They can really make you work for everything you get. We did a good job dictating the game, grabbed the lead , built on it and played well I felt. PP at least was recognizable as one but could not score. Faceoffs were +12 , that in itself is worth celebrating!

    Who was screaming for Rosie to get the call? What a way to win it!

  4. Drewp1033 says:

    If the game was played in Nashville Craw would be star one of the game.

  5. 'hawks58 says:

    The Blackhawks could legitimately have 3 award winners this year

    Kane – Hart/Byng
    Toews – Selke (Kane has had too much Hart-love the whole season for him overcome)
    Saad – Calder

    And if Crawford keeps it up, he could be a Veznia finalist

  6. Sr. Brad says:

    Thanks everyone, good comments…Tab, I like your thoughts on Stanton…I have watched him play quite a bit this year, and he seems unflappable…very consistent, solid defender…won’t score a lot of points in the NHL, but he won’t be on the ice for a ton against either.

    I agree that another move could be made…watch tomorrow by noon to see if Jagr resigns in Dallas, if not Bowman may make a play for him.

    With Bolland hurt (again), this gives Kruger the chance you were talking about the other day to move to the 2nd line, with Handzus taking over the 4th line…Hossa and Sharp are supposed to be back, so the 4 lines could look like this…

    Saad-Toews-Hoss
    Sharp-Kruger-Kane
    Stahlberg-Shaw-Bickell
    Hayes-Handzus-Frolik

    I was glad to see the new D pairings continue…Leddy pairs very well with Seabrook and Oduya is a 3rd pairing DMan. Keith gave up a bad turnover for the 2nd Pred goal.

    The 3rd line is starting to look better…hopefully they can fully regain their outstanding play…good efforts by both Carcillo and Morin…Morin made a gorgeous pass to almost set up a goal through his sheer hustle. Lots of love to Baby Jagr (Frolik), as he did a great job on the top line filling in for Hoss.

    Crawford had to do almost nothing in the first 2 periods and was very good in the shootout…but what was that in the 3rd? That first goal just can’t be allowed to happen…and why does CC give up bad goals like that? On the 2nd goal, if he had simply slid across the crease after the pass, instead of panicking and sprawling, that puck doesn’t go in. Things are far from certain with CC…even in Detroit Sunday…he stopped over 30 shots, and was a slashed stick away from a shutout, but he mishandled the puck three times, and each time a goal was almost scored.

    Saad played yet another great game…Toews is the MVP IMO…and this is why we should be skating Rozy each game…he plays a lot of quality minutes, moves the puck very well, and will score the occasional shout out winner.

  7. Tim G says:

    I have said I like this team as is, but Handzus was a nice add (better than the morrison deal last year IMO). However, If bolland will be out any type of extended period of time, i am a little worried as to our depth for this year. We have tons of Center depth in the system, but only Pirri would be close to “NHL ready”. and maybe he does get the call at some point.

    At “FULL” Health (with Bolland/Hossa/Sharp), Handzus, Carcillo, and Mayers are playing for one spot on the 4th line (with Hayes and Morin back in RFD). but If Bolland is out for a longer period of time that puts Handzus in every game… which i think making sure he is at full strength for the playoffs is key. He hasn’t played every game for the sharks and i think that will be important for us too, pacing him to get the most out of him when he IS on the ice.

    This injury could facilatate a move by SB if the initial word on bollad is bad enough. If not, i think stan stays the course, which is fine. but anything less than a CF should mean his job. We are playing for titles right now. 1st or 2nd round doesnt do it. IMO, A CF would buy him another year, a Cup buys him a while.

  8. JS says:

    I was watching the game with my girlfriend and she didn’t understand why I couldn’t stop laughing at the end of the shoot out. I went from an audible “What the ….” to hysterical laughter. Rosival? What a roof job.

    I have a theory on what Crawford was doing on the first goal. Instead of freezing the puck instantly I noticed a few times it was like he was trying to let a few seconds tick off the clock. Could it be after losing a shut out with 30 seconds left in a game, he figures he can milk a few extra seconds before covering a puck and prevent that from happening again? I know it’s an insane theory, but why the hell else would he have done that? Also, the second goal just seemed to be a broken play. He probably should have stopped it. He bit on the shot fake and when the pass got through the failed defensive effort, he panicked to move to the other post. Good thing is he got there fast. Bad thing is he was out of control.

    Carcillo is playing a lot better. He even held up a few times when he could have smashed someone into the boards…. likely because he knew it would have been a late hit and didn’t want to go to the PK.

    Hopefully the leg injury to Bolland has him out long enough to fix whatever else is ailing him. Obviously Bowman made the trade for Handzus knowing that Bolland would hurt himself blocking a shot. What a smart trade!

    Brad- I love you but you keep adding an H to Stalberg’s name and he’s too beautiful for his name to be spelled wrong! Also, the reason he doesn’t skate every day HAS to be an effort to keep him fresh. Q knows he’s better than Brookbank.

    Why did Kane keep trying to walk past Weber? It was weird watching him deke past everyone and then get shut down by Weber with ease.

  9. Phil says:

    Apart from the Hawks forgetting to skate mid way through the 3rd last night they played well and controlled this game. Rinne made it close, and so did Crawford in more ways than one. This was a game though we should have put away in the 2nd. Third periods are not looking good for us the past few weeks. This trend has to stop as it really deflates the players. That horrible first Preds goal gave the opposition some energy that they couldn’t find for the previous 40 minutes. CC needs to get more efficient handling the puck. Nashville is one of those teams that are just plain boring to watch. They just pack it in and try and counter. Not looking forward to weekend back to back with these guys. It was like watching Minnesota a few years ago when they almost appeared to avoid trying to score. Against this type of strategy, positional play is even more important, and and not taking bad penalties. Hate shootouts, but Rossie scoring was a comical treat. His post game comments were priceless.

  10. wall says:

    JS- you know what I find amazing about your comments???

    You have a Girlfriend!

  11. JS says:

    What can I say… everyone has a price.

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