Jonathan Toews left the ice with just under eight minutes left in the second period favoring an arm, and he did not return.
Corey Crawford left the ice with just under four minutes left in the second period after failing to keep the Blackhawks in a big game, and the Hawks around him didn’t do much to help their netminder in a rough 5-2 loss.
After a late game in Chicago on Friday night, only Marian Hossa appeared to show up at the arena in Nashville. Hossa had both of Chicago’s goals in the game, giving him 20 on the season, but the rest of the performance from the Hawks was ugly.
Toews had a very uncharacteristically bad night before leaving. He won only one of six faceoffs and was minus-one in over nine minutes of ice time.
Crawford had a bad night as well. With the score tied at one early in the second period, he let a one-hop shot from center ice past him. That goal stole appeared to completely deflate a Blackhawks team that didn’t get into Nashville until after 3 AM, and the rest of the night was the road team going through the motions.
Coach Joel Quenneville pulled Crawford after he allowed four goals in 17 shots. The defense in front of him wasn’t very good, and the Hawks managed only 11 shots on Vezina-candidate Pekka Rinne through two periods. The Hawks did manage to double their shot total with 11 in the third, but not many of those chances were very good.
Hossa scored his second goal of the night only 48 seconds into the third, but any thoughts of a comeback were crushed by a Patric Hornqvist goal of the game just over two minutes later. Viktor Stalberg did have a strong night as well, unfortunately hitting two posts.
Brent Seabrook appeared to get hurt a couple times in the game, and his ice time was limited to under 19 minutes on the game. His status will be interesting to watch, but the player of primary concern is Toews. After the game, Quenneville said Toews suffered an upper-body injury and is considered day to day.
With increased playing time in the absence of Toews, rookie Marcus Kruger had a solid performance. In over 19 minutes of ice time, Kruger was credited with one blocked shot and one hit, and won five of 11 faceoffs. Jamal Mayers won seven of 11 faceoffs in the loss.
Crawford had been better lately, posting a 3-1-1 record and .916 save percentage in his five appearances before soiling the sheets in Nashville. Ray Emery allowed one goal in six shots in relief.
The Predators will face the Blackhawks in Chicago on Tuesday night.