The excitement was primarily off the ice on Thursday night as the Blackhawks traded for Andrew Ladd less than an hour before puck drop. But the Shea Weber-less Nashville Predators put up a good fight a the United Center.
Pekka Rinne, who has struggled at times this season, was tremendous in the first two periods. He stopped 28 of 29 in the opening 40 minutes, including five good looks from Jonathan Toews, and the score was tied at one after two periods.
Jiri Sekac replaced Richard Panik on the Hawks’ makeshift top line with Toews and Shaw, and picked up his first point with the Hawks when he set up Brent Seabrook for the game’s first goal. Erik Gustafsson also picked up an assist on Seabrook’s 12th of the year.
Less than four minutes later, Viktor Arvidsson poked a shot through Corey Crawford to tie the game. Crawford stopped 20 of 21 in the first two periods.
Unfortunately for the Hawks, a back-and-forth third period was scoreless until MIke Fisher found Calle Jarnkrok with just under two minutes left in regulation. Joel Quenneville pulled his goalie, but Miikka Salomaki found the empty net to extend the Preds’ lead to 3-1 in the final minute. Nashville would hang on for the regulation victory.
Crawford made 29 saves in defeat, while Rinne stopped 38 for the streaking Preds.
Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked four shots to lead the way for Chicago, and Brandon Mashinter was credited with a team-high five hits. Patrick Kane picked up six shots on net to lead the Hawks but failed to pick up a point.
When the NHL-leading Washington Capitals visit on Sunday, the Hawks may have Ladd in the lineup and hope to have Marian Hossa back healthy soon. Will Stan Bowman pull off another deal before Monday’s trade deadline, though?