Darling, Hossa Too Much For Nashville

The Blackhawks top line had a big night and Scott Darling had a fantastic night in net as Chicago handed the now-former division leading Nashville Predators their second regulation home loss of the season.

Brandon Saad opened the scoring with a missile past Pekka Rinne with 5:07 left in the opening period. Saad, who scored the game-winner less than 24 hours earlier in Chicago, had four goals on the season before the Friday-Saturday games, but played a strong game all over the ice with Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews.

In the second, Saad again made a great play to flip a pass through traffic across the crease to an open Hossa to get the veteran forward on the board and extend the Hawks lead to 2-0. It was Hossa’s fourth of the season, but wouldn’t be his last goal of the game.

Less than a minute into the third, Colin Wilson got the Preds on the board. His shot got through a couple Hawks and past Darling, but would be the sum of the Nashville offense on the night.

In the closing moments of the game, Hossa showed his exceptional all-around play by stealing a puck at center ice and hitting the empty net for his second of the night and closing the books on the Preds. In 19:15, Hossa was credited with a team-leading seven shots on net.

The offense came to play, but the game was won in net. Darling was spectacular, especially in the first and third periods. In his first NHL action since being recalled, Darling 32 saves against a lot of heavy Nashville pressure to earn a big road victory in the division.

On the other end of the ice, Rinne was equally special on Saturday night. He made 28 saves but took the loss, allowing two goals in the game.

Ben Smith led the Hawks with four blocked shots and Brad Richards was the best Blackhawks center at the dot, winning 11 of 17 draws.

Bryan Bickell and Daniel Carcillo once again received the fewest shifts among the Hawks forwards, getting only 12 each. Bickell took a high stick to the face in the first period and later dropped the gloves after getting tripped into the net by Seth Jones. He was credited with one blocked shot in the game, while Carcillo’s box score showed only one takeaway on the night.

Rookie defenseman Klas Dahlbeck, recently called up to replace Adam Clendening in the bottom pair rotation, skated 12:24 and was credited with one blocked shot and one takeaway in the game. He looked solid throughout and received some ice time late in a tight road game, a confidence not rarely given to young d-men by coach Joel Quenneville.

Duncan Keith had a team-high 26:18 on the ice and picked up an assist with two takeaways and one blocked shot on the night.

25 thoughts on “Darling, Hossa Too Much For Nashville

  1. Wow! How good is this going to get! Man oh man that Scott Darling is a big dude…you wonder if there is any room for a puck to slip through. He was absolutely outstanding. Really a feat to beat the Preds in their own rink with Rinne in net. Good on the new guy Dahlbeck for an honest effort. Geez we’re good.

  2. Nice game for Scott Darling and the rest of the Blackhawks … Dahlbeck looked pretty good out there.

    Not such a good night in Rockford … Ice Hogs got blanked 4-0. Sad thing was they had Teddy Bear Toss night going on, the bears were to be tossed on the ice after the 1st Ice Hogs goal, collected and donated to local kids hospitals and charities. It never happened … heard from a friend at the game the Hogs looked pretty lethargic … was told Hartman was about the only guy noticeable playing with energy. Ah well.

  3. Beatlmania on Ice… an embarassment of riches when all cylinders are firing. An absolute joy to watch this Ferrari go. Time to sit back and enjoy the ride gentlemen. This needs to be savored, enjoyed because one day down the road it will be gone.

  4. It looks like the Preds “get the red out” campaign hasn’t been very successful. It is “United Center South” as one of the signs read. It is “their rink” only when they are playing someone other than the Hawks. What an amazing team and what amazing fans to show up in “their rink” and turn it into ours.

  5. Clicking on all cylinders for sure, a week ago I was thrilled with the 5-1 circus trip and now bam 3-0 this week. Saad has found his game again and man the number 3 goalie on the depth chart is fabulous.

    I also think the 3 man rotation at bottom pair defense is much much more solid with dahlbeck in the mix.

  6. Darling is like “Sasquatch” in the net! Never seen a goalie use his Blocker so much like a shield in lord of the rings? Hawks just out skating everyone, they are also casually finishing their checks too, Nordstrom especially, not big checks, leave your feet check but just enough finish to slow the exit and make defense pick up their heads and make a bad pass. Subtle but to me the difference. Hawks Team Defense is best in the NHL so most goalies will fair well every night. Don’t PEAK TOOOOO SOON and stay healthy no other NHL team playing this well maybe tampa? Dahlbeck played very well, solid on the d-end and no need for him to take too many chances on the offensive end, played it safe and thats good . . . Go hawks

  7. Dbeck had a very strong debut… Noticed that guys fell down when he was around the boards!!! way more IQ then Cden…

    Drunkin Crow… Winter is coming!!!
    3 games – 1.66 gaa, guessing around .950 Save%, if the “backups” can minimize a “softie” to once every 5-6 games… SB has more trade options this summer…

    4th line looked very solid again… wouldn’t be surprised if they potted 3-5 goals in 4-5 game stretch some time soon…

    Carcillo had his 1st real sleeper-imo… was noticeably not noticeable (to quote Yogi Berra)…

    Mr. Meister… watched Hogs last nite… Wings Farm did great job of getting in all lanes/blocking/holding… TT was the best player for Hogs last nite… created a few good chances with his passing… but the kid really disengages on boards (Kane is not physical there either – but still can win some of those pucks- TT needs to go to school there)…

  8. Like the big goalie/Darling. People on this website have been pushing for Dahlbeck to get a chance for at least a year. A lot of people who post here have good hockey knowledge. The lineup is strong now from top to bottom and I think it gives some additional credibility to the people who complained last year about Bollig and Handzus killing the lineup against the Kings etc.

  9. Hawks looked surprisingly quick for “back to back” games. Even a well rested team with a ton of confidence, like the Preds, had trouble containing the Hawks. Even after the Preds first goal, we stayed confident and played well.

    The garage door in our net is actually bigger than Rinne, and together there was actually over 13 feet of goalies on the ice last night…….amazing.

    Plus, we are playing really well WITHOUT our leading scorer from last year. When Sharpie comes back, who sits?

  10. If I read Wall’s comment correctly, I’m in total agreement with him about the trade options next summer as I think an eventuality is one of these goalies may be part of a trade deal…that’s assuming they keep playing to current form. Having three guy’s playing to the level that they have been is a luxury and also a lure to rivals. That level of play will serve to boost value in the eyes of other league GM’s. I think what will possible happen is one of them and a ‘core’ player can be packaged in the right deal after the Cup is ours next summer. The thought sickens me this morning as the boys have been hitting on all cylinders over the past couple weeks. These are days to be relished for sure.

    We all know that it’s an eventuality that some of our ‘favorite’s will have to go at some point to be able to sign/retain others. I won’t name the ‘fav’s’ since seeing one or more in another sweater will surely require some level of adjustment on mine and others parts. Life for awhile will not be the same and as a result cats may attempt mating with dogs as a consequence as well…thank you Bill Murray.

    Go Hawks!

  11. Very impressed with the effort from the Hawks last night. They wanted first place and took it. Dahlbeck looked solid in his first game. A very smooth and surprisingly fast skater. Seemed to be in the right place most of the time and used the body once in a while. Big improvement over Cden. Darling sure looks confident to me. Judging by the minutes Q is doling out lately, I would not be surprised if 42 is the choice over 13 when 10 comes back.

  12. 42 is looking too good to send down… But still is temporary option- til they can move Mo… guessing SB working hard to trade Morin???

    Or maybe- Carcillo comes up w/ Injury to buy time for SB/Morin to play/trade…

    doubt if he clears waivers…

  13. No way nordstrom should be sent down, and i never was a big backer last year. He was just a whisp of the player he is this year. Told my son to get a hold of him to find out what he did during the off season so he could follow the same routine. That line 28-16-42 is our neutering line. It cuts the balls off any line it plays and once they get the puck in the o-zone they cycle as well as our top 2 lines. Sharp has to replace 13 or 29 maybe depending on the opponent. Wonderful problem to have.

  14. Since that 7-6-1 start, they’ve gone 11-2 and outscored the opposition 49-27, a 22 goal differential in 13 games, or almost 2 goals per game. What snake bit scoring slump?

    And that’s with a power play that still resembles clown shoes too often and the best thing that can be said about it is at least they haven’t given up a shortie in a while.

    And that’s without Sharp who was leading the team in scoring when he was injured.

    But enough about the offensive prowess of the Hawks, which was a little slow in getting started this season but was expected to be doing what they’re doing lately. It’s the defense that was the question mark coming into this season after falling from the Jennings Trophy in 2013 to the middle of the pack in 2014. If the Hawks were going to challenge for the Cup in 2015, the defense needed to get better.

    It has. In fact it has been so good that the Hawks have the #1 defense in the league in both Goals Against and Penalty Kill. Yes, there’s still 2/3 of the season to go so no one should be planning the parade just yet, but as the old axiom goes – defense wins championships, and so far so good.

    I want to present a different twist to consider regarding the question of where Sharp plays when he comes back. While the primary objective is to win now, the future doesn’t need to be completely ignored, and by that I mean the futures of Sharp and Saad. Popular opinion from the message boards is that Sharp will be traded for Cap relief, so it would seem the best scenario would be for him to have a very productive last 2/3 of the season to keep his trade value at the maximum possible (vs having a down year). Saad will be an RFA and his negotiating power will largely be affected by his production this season, possibly to the tune of millions per season. It is better for the Hawks for Sharp to be hugely productive and Saad to be less so.

    Therefore Sharp should be inserted on the first line and Saad should be moved down. That move wouldn’t necessarily be counter to the primary objective of winning now because Sharp is still a better finisher than Saad and would probably make the Toews line more productive than it is with Saad. Plus with Saad’s speed and two way play, he would improve the Kruger-Smith line over what Nordstrom has done (which has been commendable). Saad-Kruger-Smith could be a pretty good two way line.

    Ah … it’s fun being a Hawks fan.

  15. With Sharp’s return right around the corner, Brandon Saad sure has stepped his game up the past few games hasn’t he? Coach Q likes to tout the line “we enjoy having to make the tough decisions” and Saad is proving that he may deserve to stay on Toews line. I have to agree with ER’s synopsis with the long term strategy for all concerned. If Sharpy is moved we need to get full value for him. Saad’ s payday will come, but it would be nice to get him signed at a price that keeps as much of the present team together as possible. It may be a pipe dream but we can only hope. As others have said ” enjoy the ride”. What a wonderful time it’s been so far with Rocky at the helm.

    With regard to Darling, I thought he had a great game, showed poise, is excellent with his stick – both defensively and offensively – and plays his angles real well. His lateral movement also seemed quite quick for such a large guy. You just gotta love all of these “problems” that we have don’t you.

  16. Darling did look good, but lets not forget that he is playing with the best defensive team in hockey in front of him. For those ready to cast Corey Crawford aside, let’s remember many of the games where the rest of the team was playing like crap and #50 was keeping us in those games. It has been written in many places that CC was our best player through the first 20 games. Could Darling or Raanta deliver what CC did in that stretch? Maybe in the future, but not right now. Our goaltending future looks promising boys!!!!

    Dahlbeck looked like a composed experienced NHL’er out there. Did not see the entire game, but from what I did see he did not have shaky moments like Cden and Danault had when they were up. Even Runblad looks shakey, but then his playing time has not been consistent. I’m thinking Klas may be here to stay. Our defense core of the future looks promising. We haven’t even seen Johns in the NHL yet. Hopefully TVR has a full recovery.

    Enjoying watching this team click. Wow!!! Best fast paced hockey we’ve seen since the last cup year. Four lines are looking good.

  17. Weve paid our dues previous yrs without a goalie depth chart like this, lets keep all 3 goalies. One thing at a time, Bowman stocked the Farm. First with FW(centers), then D men and eventually goalies.

    Somebody mentioned 42 training program. Nordy ate Tatanka.

  18. Booman- which is it Crow is great and was the MVP for first 20 games???
    OR- The Hawks D is/has been great??? So Darling played behind “the Best D team in league”… WHO played in front of Crow ??? the Ice Capades???

    I think you kind of validated what I have been saying all season!!! Pay the Team/D in front of the Goalie!!! Once again… Crow is playing very well… AND just as important the team in front of him!!!

    Biggest difference from now vs. Hawks 1st 15 Games… less TO’s and getting more Odd-mans than giving up!!! making ALL of the Hawk Goalies look better!!!

  19. Wall, Crow carried them in many games this year so he is great. However, the team seems totally committed to D like in 2012-13. Last year for some reason they weren’t. Now they are once again. That I don’t understand. How, with essentially the same players, could defensive play be so drastically different from one year to the next. Regardless, it will be the reason they win the cup again this year.

  20. A hotly contested playoff type intensity game. A big win on the road to a much improved Preds team that I can happily say is now not boring to watch play. The Trotz snooze era is done and Laviolette deserves some credit for changing the mentality of what was a heavily defensive minded approach. Of course some goal scorers help to so guys like Forsberg and Neal have made a difference. Some offensive firepower combined with some good rushing d men and you have what it takes to bring it to other teams. Doesn’t hurt to have an all world keeper like Rinne either. I’m not much for the “Smashville” BS, but at least Preds fans can feel optimistic about their team. Good for them. Now they just need to fill their arena with Preds fans.

    Hawks skating 4 lines game in game out is making a big difference. All 4 lines can cause trouble offensively. Most teams simply have troible matvching up shift after shirt for 60 minutes. Hawks are getting bounces they didn’t get early in the year when they were losing games by 1 goal. Lots of Hawks buzzing the net are finding lose rebounds for goals. D men very active popping down towards the dots and getting off good shots. Some turnovers by Hawks d men are creating some odd man rushes, but scale tilts more to positive than negative when chances created are weighed.

    Saad out of the mental funk he was in a few weeks ago. Simply put the guys look very confident out on the ice, and it appears the camaraderie on the bench is strong not that the wins are getting racked up. Since the game tonight is on the road I think Hawks will play with good intensity. A home game could reveal some complacency. Devils aren’t exactly lighting it up. Sharpy back sure can’t hurt. The team really pulled together once he went down. A wonderful run this has been and a pleasure to watch. Darling looked very calm in the eye of the hurricane Sat night. Impressive stature IMO. Even when we had Razor on a roll a few years ago, the guy always made me nervous between the pipes. Darling in particular and Raanta a little less don’t give me that “oh nooo it’s going in feeling” so much. Let’s hope the guys can stay healthy. This has been fun the past few weeks hasn’t it?

    Oh yes, thank you Shaw for depositing Neal onto the Hawks bench Sat. Hilarious. Looked like the guy was cracking up. Would have liked to had that play miked for some laughs.

    Lets Go Hawks!

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