Forsberg, Hawks Hang On In Nashville

What, are you telling me Anton Forsberg against Juuse Saros isn’t as sexy as Corey Crawford vs Pekka Rinne?

The fans in Nashville were stuck with the Forsberg-Saros matchup but were treated to some terrific hockey. In the opening 20 minutes there were 17 total shots put on net, nine by the visiting Blackhawks. And one of those Chicago shots got past Saros.

David Kampf’s second of the year came with assists to Vinnie Hinostroza and Tomas Jurco. There were no penalties called in the first period.

The second period saw Forsberg make an ugly, ugly turnover that turned into a tying Kyle Turris goal at 2:12 and then the lack of penalties ended.

Austin Watson – not to be confused with the more likeable Randy Watson of the band Sexual Chocolate – took a shot at Ryan Hartman and Tommy Wingels answered the bell. Watson and Wingles picked up five for fighting and Watson got an extra two minutes for interfering with Hartman.

Chicago didn’t do anything with their first power play of the night (surprised?) but they got the lead back at 14:33 when Hinostroza put home his fifth of the year.

Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane were credited with assists on the missile from Hinostroza.

The Hawks got a second power play in the second period with Kevin Fiala in the box but, shockingly, did nothing with that advantage.

After 40 minutes, the shots were 22-21 Chicago and the Blackhawks held a one goal lead.

The third period saw the action fly both ways for 12 minutes without any scoring before Hartman got caught for interference with 8:09 left in regulation. Chicago went to their first penalty kill of the night. They were successful in killing the two minutes with Forsberg making a few more big saves. After his debacle of a turnover in the second period, Forsberg was locked-in and on point.

With just over 90 seconds left in regulation Saros skated to the bench for an extra attacker. The Preds had a terrific flurry of action in front of the net and Eric Gustafsson had a huge blocked shot to help Forsberg and the Hawks were able to clear. Nashville burned their timeout with 61 seconds left in regulation.

The final seconds ticked off, however, and the Blackhawks held on for a big division victory.

Even though Nashville came into the game 12 points in front of Chicago in the standings, Tuesday night lived up to a playoff atmosphere and intensity from both sides.

Forsberg did the heavy lifting in the third period, where he stopped 22 Predators shots to cling to the one goal margin of victory. He finished the night with 42 saves against 43 shots and earned every bit of two points for the Blackhawks in a much-needed road game coming out of the break.

The most noticeable skater for Chicago was Hinostroza, whose speed was a difference maker all over the ice. He had two points, three shots on goal and one hit in 14:33 on the ice.

Jonathan Toews won 13 of 23 faceoffs for Chicago; Artem Anisimov won one of ten. Alex DeBrincat, skating on a line with Toews and Anthony Duclair, led the Hawks with four shots on goal.

65 thoughts on “Forsberg, Hawks Hang On In Nashville

  1. it has been a tough year for a lifelong hawks fan, but tonight was clearly the best, most consistent, most disciplined game of the year. cramming for the exam doesn’t w0rk too often but maybe we can pull back into playoffs. we won’t go far if we get there but it would be good for all these young players who haven’t tasted it yet.

    goalie error made it a nail biter but goalie play and vinnie delivered the mail. let’s hope hawks realize that a 60 minute game by everyone every game is the only way to get home this year

    go hawks!!!

  2. Vinny.

    Another good game we outplayed TB, TOR, DET, NAS. Bad calls (hand pass out of zone have TB lead and Icing gave Tor the tie) and bounces and were 4-0 or 3-0-1 in these games.

    Cant overlook that 5 on 3 for 1:53 or the Schmaltz tackle after he dumped puck in and went around the defender.

    Just the thing we have to play through, this yr, I guess. No point in looking at the standings its going to tight until game 83 for every team except the bottom 3.

    Good game played good again. Need to improve off of these levels. Moving forward.

  3. A nice start to a stretch of games where the Hawks need to go 23-12(+ or -) to get into a playoff spot……….maybe.

    I like the confidence, Kempny and Murphy looked good, Tazer had a little jump and the rest of the forwards contributed some good chances.

    Confidence is a funny thing………………………

  4. A good effort against a very good team. Maybe the best game Forsberg has had. The Hawks have looked very good on the road lately, hopefully they will match it back at home.

  5. A solid effort but clearly a goalie win. Last 10 minutes were not pretty between our inability to get the puck out of our zone or win a face-off but we’ll take two points on the road. Young forwards looked good -they will get great experience over the next few months.

  6. Blackhawks coming yrs are very bright. Look at the diff between last yr against NAS and this yr. and thats as bad of breaks calls we have not gotten. Team is fast again cant wait for these upcoming 32 games and coming yrs. Keep adding speed and skill.

  7. Morrison you are right the Hawks look much faster. Liked the defense Kempny, Murphy and Gustafson looked good. Still want the Hawks to continue to add youth and speed whenever they can. Forsberg had a great game except for his miscue behind the net.He needs the net the majority othe games Crow is out need to find out how good he can be.
    Go Hawks!

  8. Thank we did not have our shutdown pair of “little Gustav” and “shellshocked Ruuta” out there tonight. It was a physical, physical battle and none of our guys backed down. Good to see.

    Gosh the East sucks. West dominated Eastern Conference teams tonight with the exception of Pittsburgh.

    Hawks must get 2 points at Vancouver then at last one versus Calgary.

  9. A good effort by the team against a very good team. I disagree that it was just a goalie win. The Haeks played well and playing defensively in the 3rd period paid off.

    In other good news, Dallas and the Flames lost.

  10. Morrison, yeah – but you’re our retard … just kidding :)

    Pretty good game with very good result. It’s nice have this much speed in the lineup. Now, if they can focus a little harder on clearing the puck when they have it on their stick, maybe we can see more results like this one.

    Two in a row! Let’s go get number three in a row against those knuckleheads.

  11. Fun game to watch tonight. Great team win. It’s fun watching a team with some speed. Great job by Forsberg.

  12. Once again our new master plan to play against only backup goalies is working…

    A good outing by several players including the Black Hawks back up.

  13. Good effort.

    I hope any little successes don’t distract/sidetrack McD and Stan away from “Younger and Faster”. Until last year’s post season and the first 45 games this year, I “Believed”. Now, I think/know/believe that the Hawks are NOT going to win the Cup, so I’d rather see them sacrifice this season (- not saying play-to-lose, but…) to retool/rebuild into a genuine contender. Of course, I’m not Rocky Wirtz (lust for playoff revenue) or the season ticket base…

  14. Big game for Forsberg, showed he can get it done, 22 shots in 3rd and 40+ overall and a significant number of real good scoring chances by Preds, bailed out the defense on numerous occasions. Was thinking Hino may be moved but sure is making a case for being resigned and being a part of the future. Keep it going now.

  15. Hawks played with nice pace in first 2 periods.

    Hayden/Highmore are still better options than Wingels…
    48/64/13 is the new “3rd line”…

    AA- should be the “Sell” at TDL or this summer… Kampf is younger/cheaper/faster…

    Hawks could be really good next year- if they:
    1.) sneak into top 10 draft- and get a Stud Center
    2.) Dump a larger contract (this TDL or Summer) and improve at Center
    3.) this assumes Sikura and or Highmore are ready for Next season- to add speed/skill on wings… and one of the D prospects can make roster next year

    I see Highmore took 2nd in AHL speed skate… and scored a goal in games

  16. Craig N. & Noonan, agree.

    Forsberg outstanding, going to need that consistently if any chance to make playoffs.

  17. Mo regarding signing Sikura if Bkackhawks don’t make playoffs. If Northeastern win regionals and advance he could be called up for one game and that burns his first year elc and sent back for rest of year so he can play in Frozen Four and then join Rockford after that for playoffs.

  18. Nice effort last night as Preds came out flat and Hawks had some real jump. All 4 lines looked determined to skate and press the issue. While Wingels is not a “skill” player he hit any Pred that had the puck when he could last night early in the game. That in itself is disruptive and can cause turnovers which the Preds had plenty of last night. Yes Wall, Hayden is better longer term option, but Wingels skates hard and can play on the PK.

    Obviously, this game was not about Wingels. It was about a great night for Forsberg and the newer guys on the team that are contributing. I have not been a Jurco fan, but he is much improved. Vinny is gaining some confidence and I loved that quick release 1 timer. Ditto the quick release shot by Kampf that scored the first tally. Brandon Saad please take notes…

    Refs let em play last night which benefits Preds, but it also left the game to be played wide open which was certainly entertaining. Not sure why Preds fame keep booing Kane, but the herd mentality there runs rampant.

    I wish this Hawks team would embrace a shoot first mentality be it at even strength or on the PP. Over passing suggests the team is lacking in confidence, which stringing a few wins together could boost attitudes. Of some concern with this team is what appears to be players not joking around on the bench much. There seems to be a lack of enthusiasm. Again, a string of wins would help.

    This Hawks team can skate like the wind when they are motivated. Let’s hope the big win last night carries over into Nucks game tomorrow. It’s a tall mountain to climb to make playoffs, but I still hope they make a solid run at it.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  19. A couple points mentioned here stick out to me. One, the team has not seemed to bond in the way the Cup winning teams of the past once did. This is maybe due to all of the personnel changes they have made and the age difference between the vets and all the young guys, in several cases is ten years or so, which is a lot. Not sure but that kind of stuff translates to how teams play on the ice.

    Second is that they keep looking good but against teams playing the backup goalie or missing key players. Before we get too enthusiastic, it is important to keep that in mind. And beating Vancouver, a pretty bad team, would not mean a whole lot either. But when the Hawks win 4-5 games in a row against teams that are generally healthy and playing their number 1 goalie, then I will take notice.

    Yes they played better last night, but that victory was by the thinnest of margins, and entirely due to the young guys who are not going to do it every night. Other than Kane, our core vets still are not contributing a whole lot, and that is not a recipe for success.

    I agree with the poster that said don’t let this change the plan to selectively sell off pieces at the deadline and make the team stronger for the future. If you think this team can catch fire and do something in the playoffs, you are buying what is called ‘fool’s gold.’

    The hard part would be figuring out who to sell off and who to keep….seems like every week it changes…..gotta keep Kempny? Rutta? Gotta get rid of them? It’s like a merry-go round. Figuring out the right defensemen to keep moving forward is probably the biggest decision they need to make that will affect the near term future of the club.

  20. I know lineup changes are rarely in the cards after a couple wins, and I like having speed on every line so wouldn’t want to change too much, but Saad is offering pretty much nothing. He shows his speed but can’t do anything with it. He can’t shoot and he has trouble hanging on to the puck. I don’t know what is wrong with him but hopefully he can fix it. In the meantime I think Hino should take his place with Schmaltz and Kane. Put Saad with Anisimov and Wingels in a kind of “what do we do with these guys” line.

    12-19-91
    48-8-88
    38-64-13
    20-15-57

  21. How many times have the other teams back up goalie play crazy good against us when we outplayed the other team. I want 10 moar back up goalie poundings.

  22. Dickie D- good post… agree

    Phil- I am OK if they replace Jurco and keep Wingels… Jurco skates well… helps push play/checks well… but not much finish.

    Highmore – is better than both 57/13… in time

    I like Kempny… but it appears Q- likes him less… and Q knows better than me (sometimes)… so I am guessing Kempny- will not want to stay around- as UFA… and I don’t blame him

  23. ER- I agree on 48 and Saad/AA…

    Hino- needs to play with skater who can keep up with his speed…
    He works on current line- 48/64/13… cuz both other guys have + speed/skating…
    But 13 doesn’t have much finish… but Hino works there…

    Hino would also work with 8/88 – cuz they all can skate

    Saad- can skate… but his hand/eye/ vision/ soft hands… ain’t cutting it with 8/88 two elite playmakers…

    So demote Saad-to AA/57… and let mis-fits roll…

    But that weakens/destroys… 64/13 (with no HINO)… that is why i would love to see
    Highmore get shot… w/ 64 line or 8 line…

    leaving 20/AA/Wingels or Hayden

  24. Good Win way to pick up pts in the West! I am hopeful that Q will stick with this top 6 from here on out. Glad the Sharp was a scratch he hasnt played well enough to be in this lineup. Was just dumbfounded on the PP rollout.

  25. On the goalie talk Saris has a 2.33 goals?against average and of his 5 wins he has 3 shutouts. At the deadline if you can move Anisimov it would probably be a good move give his face off performance and speed. They do need to have a replacement for him though. Need to bring Hayden back before too long and let him play on the 3rd line. Need to see what we have in him. Go Hawks nice game.

  26. 15 is better then 80 and about same as 16 so could be a 1st pick and. We then have two 1st picks and maybe a move up the order.

  27. I would be ELATED to burn 1 year of Sikura’s ELC…rather than the alternative of allowing ALL other NHL teams just as good a shot at signing him for next year.
    Letting him have some NHL time this season is the 1 carrot we can offer him that nobody else can.

  28. If sikura signs his elc, he cant go back to college. Ncaa wont allow it. Its why CHL players cant play in the NCAA. Loss of amateur status. Its out of the Hawks hands. If Northeastern keeps winning, he cant play here yet.

    I wouldnt worry about him signing. Guys that have chosen not to sign (Vesey, Hayes, Hyman) have either said they werent going to sign. Or didnt want to talk about it. Sikura has said he would. Why? His grandfather was a hawks fan because Stan Mikita was a Slovak…like he was. His dad was a fan…and both he and his brothers grew up Hawk fans.

  29. I agree with the comments saying Anisimov should be the player on the TDL block. He is to inconsistent and is sub par at the dot and his 4.5m cap hit puts him Me at the league avg for his production. That being said, who is out there that could be a good trade candidate for AA?

  30. Only thing if thats correct trade off could be ability to cash in on some of 2.8 m in bonuses he is eligible to earn during his 2 year elc deal, if he still signs as burning a year a big incentive to say he is signing. Still 2 games after semi finals if they don’t reach final to play a game with Blackhawks so probably a non issue only needs one game.

  31. PP can’t be worse only other team scoring more shortys then us PP eh. I think PP will be decent to good next yr out of nowhere with just fast skate pas shoot first ask questions later. We got the PK back to our standards now next couple hrs get the PP scoring again.

  32. I took a look for possible Centers that AA could be traded for and there isn’t much that makes sense. http://puckbase.com/stats/faceoff-percentage Derek Ryan on Carolina is the only one that seems realistically possible with cap considerations and other teams being in the playoff hunt. Winnipeg is stacked at center though.

  33. Finally an entertaining game. Not a whole lot to complain about. Saad didn’t look good. Meh. They let Nashville have 43 shots. Meh. Either way a lot of open up and down enjoyable hockey.

    Hopefully they don’t get comfortable Thursday.

  34. I would have no problem the hawks trading Anisimov. Salary cap space and draft picks are always appreciated.
    The only thing is they will still have to replace him. Still a big center. Gets in front of the goalie and responsible defensively.

  35. I am liking 64, hustles, plays with some speed. Can see him being a solid #3 center. I’d like to see us get a little size w speed at wing and a tough physical defender.

  36. After thinking about it a little more AA does look to be the most expendable higher salary player on the roster. I think the question becomes does Stan keep 15 for this season and then trade him (there are a lot of rfa to consider in the offseason), or does a trade occur before the TDL for a viable replacement at center, or for picks or prospects? Its a small sample size but Kampf looks like he could develop into a good 3rd line center. I think it all depends on what happens in the next 3 weeks. If the Hawks go on a run, 15 is still a Hawk until the offseason. If they falter trading him for picks or prospects makes sense. Getting a comparable younger player seems unlikely considering his injury history, cap hit, and point production. Arm chair GM, signing out.

  37. I feel bad for 15 as well as 72 and others that we couldnt keep or needed to for roster reasons based on where we were at. Finally get that ideal 2nd line center and we prob cant kept him long term because of needing to get younger and faster. I am always for whats better for the team. We need diff makers and a lot of tackle and go fast players.

    91 caphit will be high and 81 15 no player bonuses and cap going way up he can sign here if he wants to. Is he good at faceoffs. People bitching and whining about not having 2nd pick we might have two 1st picks. Whatever we do we have lots of extra players so were in good shape to be creative and make a good deal when available. Doesnt matter if deadline draft summer.

  38. AA has a nmc until July 1st then a modified nmc after that, same type of clause Hammer had. So Bowman quite possibly may honor that clause and not move him before then.

  39. I do think this is 15’s last year on the Hawks. Thanks for that info Ian. Regardless of what happens this year Bowman is going to everything he can, within reason, to get younger. Let’s hope Sikura signs with the Hawks. He has the right to go the route if Kevin Hayes.

  40. Sikura is coming. Do not worry about that. SB knows that the Jimmy Hayes trade likely cost the Hawks his brother.
    Notice how SB has bent over backward for Sikura’s brother Tyler.

    On that note, the Hawks actually drafted well in 2010 : K.Hayes, S. Johns , J. Holl(scintillating debut for Toronto tonight) all looking at decent NHL careers.

  41. Possible that AA is used to make a deal at the draft as it would be at the time his nmc is about to take effect.

  42. Holl’s first NHL game 1 day after his 26th birthday…and scores a goal. Congrats

    Kampf has more points in 15 games than Kruger does in 45. He really fell off a cliff.

    Most expendable high dollar player is Seabrook…unfortunately finding a taker is going to be difficult. Now if he retires…and they pay him 7 mil a year to be a liaison…that solves a lot of problems. Seabrook suffers from the same thing Phaneuf does. His salary doesnt match his play on the ice. He’s an nhl player…but not a 7 million dollar nhl player.

  43. I have always thought that teams come of age while away from home. It certainly has been the case a few times with recent Chicago teams. I was very disappointed to learn the annual Circus trip was being done away with because it always seemed to be very beneficial even if we didn’t get a big point boost from it, though we often did.

    This mini trip we are on has the potential to pay big dividends with this team. The Det, Nsh games were pretty encouraging. Van, Cal are both very suspect on home ice. We need to be going in with the thought of getting 4 points now. 4 straight road wins would give this team the confidence it has been lacking all season. Then you will find that guys just play and let it rip….and thats a good place to be. Mo knows.

  44. Craig – let’s slow the roll on the anointing of the 2010 class… only 2 players – Kevin Hayes & Joakim Nordstrom – have played in more than 125 regular season NHL games and we’re 8 years past that draft…

  45. very true Ryan and the upcoming games Calgary x2, Minnesota, and Dallas are teams the Hawks need to overtake in the standings

  46. Yes RD these games over the next 10 days against some opponents they need to gain ground on will be telling. Part of me goes with the optimism that this group is taking some time to jell given the big lineup changes we have seen. The other negative side simply accepts that this team is lacking the talent to succeed. We have seen some good and bad so far this season just past the half way point. The past 2 contests have been encouraging, especially the performances of the younger guys. Ultimately, the high paid guys need to perform to their potential. I keep thinking that if(and it’s a big if) Saad can only get rolling on the score sheet good things will happen on a more consistent basis in the win column.

    In the end of course we just want our team to be competitive. First half of the year saw quite a bit of underachievement and inconsistency from the Hawks as a whole. If it changes it should get better not worse imo. I remain in a “show me” frame of mind, and trying not getting to high or low. I believe there are teams higher in the standing that are overachieving thus far. If it resorts back to the mean Hawks can make the playoffs if they just bear down and play well. Tonight I hope we see a Hawks team that shoots first and asks questions later.

    Come on boys! and

    Lets Go Hawks!

  47. I’m going to put a positive spin on the next few weeks. The Hawks only shot at the playoffs is a Wildcard. Unfortunately, both Wildcard slots are being filled by Central foes. However, the Pacific teams are going through some attrition. Let’s consider a few key recent injuries to players for teams ahead of the Hawks. Nathan McKinnon is now injured, NMac was playing at a MVP type level. The Avs are 3 pts ahead of the Hawks. The Hawks have 3 games remaining with the Avs. The Sharks have 60 pts and are sitting in 2nd place and are 1 pt ahead of the Ducks current outside of the race. Joe Thornton is now out of the yr most likely, Jumbo isn’t what he was but was still playing key mins and had the Sharks in a playoff spot. I believe the Sharks will miss the playoffs without his services. The Hawks have 3 games reaming against the Sharks. The Ducks have a banged up John Gibson and similar to the Hawks have an aged core. DBag Cory Perry is playing on the 4th line. The Hawks play the Ducks 2 more times.

  48. The Hawks remaining games against teams ahead of them

    Dallas-1
    Wild-1

    Calgary-2
    Ducks-2
    Jets-3
    Blues-3
    Avs-3
    Sharks-3

    That’s 18 games, they probably need to win at least 12 of these.

  49. Phil, I have been looking at these middle 29 games the whole time because of the time it took to get playing good during the first 20 games and the awkward sch. I didnot know we wouldnt have Crow for these 29 games and that does make a diff which could make the guys get better because they have to for their mistakes.

    Wether it happens in the 2nd 40 games or not I believe were going to be really good again for coming yrs so to me this is not all in or nothing its just to make playoffs and win to gain valuable eperince. At the same time a top 10 pick we deserve. Could trade up with 15 though to get that anyways.

    Also agree that COL and DAL are going to come back to where they should be like STL has sonce their 15-5 start got to plus 13 and havnt gone since. That were going to get closer to where we should be. Bottom line is we have to play threw this yr to get to where we want to be for the coming yrs.

    Roll 4 fast lines.

  50. Nobody really knows I donot think we have to post a number to be 7 or 8 seed. Like Phil certain teams will revert to where they should be anyways. We do though have to play as good as we really are and play every game no no shows that we have already had 2 yrs worth in the first 50 games. We havnt ever done that.

    Good thing is no matter what we do were in a good position make playoffs or get top 10 pcik.

    Long road trips baybaaaay.

  51. I’ll take 91 at best and get ready to reload 2018/2019. Enjoying the effort and games either way as Chicago is a “dead city” for sports the next 4 months….

  52. Beating Detroit and Nashville is great. No doubt. But neither one was a resounding victory. Detroit hit 4 posts, we had all the puck luck. Nashville swarmed us, out skated and out worked us the second half of the game, and Forsberg saved us with a stellar effort. If we can gain confidence from our good fortune and win the next two and then some while playing responsible hockey, then I’ll feel a bit more optimistic. But this team needs another stud center and our power play sucks! (We didn’t win a single important faceoff the last half of that Nashville game.) Not sure how we mend those flaws, but my sights are set on next year and beyond. It’s not pessimism, just reality.

  53. Thats true. We also have hit the most post in league so thats not balanced out. The coming yrs are going to be better everything wise.

  54. Good post Tony. For the long term good of the team we probably need to move Anisimov but Kampf or anyone else we currently have are not anywhere near as good as he is and may never be.

    But stud centers are like stud starting pitchers in baseball. There aren’t enough of them to go around for every team to have even 1 of them!

  55. You’re right about that Mike. As I wrote the stud center line I was thinking, “where do we find that?” Perhaps it comes from within.

  56. If gonna go half the way there to sign somebody Mo, might as well get a little creative and go all out for the impact guy. I Hear ya

  57. Craig, I kinda put the same 2+2 together regarding signing Tyler Sikura. But, he’s more than held his own in Rockford as the 3rd leading goal scorer for the Hogs.

  58. Let’s not be giving Nashville too much praise if the calls were made that they get away with and if the Hawks PP wasn’t so bad it wouldn’t have been close.
    I agree though with keeping the younger, faster model and hopefully get that stud centre or 1/2 type D man

  59. Ernie thinking about your idea of Seabrook retiring, the numbers as far as cap hit go work but just can’t see league not going after some sort of recapture if continued earn present salary and don’t see him walking and leaving money on the table.

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