Blackhawks Catch Predators, Finish 2014 In First

In a battle for first place, it took extra hockey for the Blackhawks and Predators to settle their final regular season match-up of the season.

Bickell NSH

The Hawks dug a three-goal hole in the opening 28 minutes, allowing two goals in the first period and a third in the opening eight minutes of the second. Roman Josi, Craig Smith and Johnny Oduya James Neal accounted for the first three Nashville scored on the night, with Colin Wilson picking up two assists before the Hawks were able to solve Pekka Rinne.

But over a stretch of 7:10 the Hawks stormed back to tie the game. Brad Richards returned to the lineup and scored as a power play expired to get Chicago on the board. Andrew Shaw scored his first goal since Nov. 28 and Marian Hossa followed with a power play goal to tie the game.

Unfortunately, the tie lasted only 81 seconds as James Neal was able to score his second of the game (this time without assistance from Oduya) to give Nashville a 4-3 lead heading to the third period.

In the middle of the second period, Eric Nystrom hammered Niklas Hjalmarsson behind the Hawks’ net. He was slow to get up and went to the dressing room, but returned to the ice later in the period.

Bryan Bickell scored his fifth of the season with 73 seconds remaining in regulation to extend the game to overtime. Bickell skated 9:42 in the game and was credited with an assist and one hit to go with his goal. He successfully doubled his point total for the rest of December in one evening – the final game of the 2014 calendar year – and posted his first multi-point game since Oct. 21.

Corey Crawford overcame a rough first period (in which he faced 18 shots) to settle in and eventually win the game in the shootout. He made 36 saves in the win. Rinne faced 42 shots on the other end of the ice, stopping 38 in 65 minutes but wasn’t able to keep Jonathan Toews’ shot out of the net in the skills competition.

Daniel Carcillo skated seven shifts and 5:03 in the game.

Duncan Keith picked up three assists, two blocked shots and a team-leading three takeaways, while Oduya led the team with three blocked shots (and one own-goal). Kris Versteeg had a team-high three hits in the game.

Chicago’s next game will be on January 1, 2015 in the Winter Classic. The Hawks finish the calendar year in first place.

32 thoughts on “Blackhawks Catch Predators, Finish 2014 In First

  • December 29, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    Quite impressed with Runblad, has a good shot and finally is not afraid to use it. Wouldn’t mind to see him with Hjalmarsson for a few games if he will continue to progress.

  • December 29, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Mr. Rufus: Where are you hiding? Did you watch the game tonight? Ken Dryden, Jr., — excuse me, Rinne — Stanley Cup goalie, clutch. Blows 3-0 lead. Can’t hold onto to puck w/ glove hand — Goalie Fundamentals 101 — allowing it to go to Bickell for tying goal. Then, to complete trifecta, let’s Towes’ shootout goal through 5-hole (Goalie Fundamentals 102). And the Hawks are stuck w/ the lesser goalie, Corey Crawford (who, admittedly, cannot navigate stairwells safely in public). At least he is clutch when it counts. Thanks for putting the whammy on Rinne. All the best to you Mr. Rufus in 2015, we miss you! P.S. Did you see, Morin scored a goal Saturday night! The Hawks keep winning and Morin is getting regular shifts in the NHL. Amen. Happy New Year to you and all!

  • December 29, 2014 at 11:41 pm

    To tie in somewhat to what Iceman was saying (re: Rufus and Morin)
    Also J. Hayes has 10 goals in 25 games, yes I know–with the Panthers. But at 6’6-220 he seems to get the ‘dirty’ goals and perhaps a cheaper version of 29, the goal tonight not withstanding.
    Sometimes these “expendable parts” find their way.

  • December 29, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    I’m on the road today and tomorrow and watched the game from a motel room. It was the best thing that have happened after a tough day ( bad road conditions)… What a great come from behind win. That’s exactly where Bickell should park himself all the time! Shades of Game 6 in Boston. Got a nice complimentary drink from the motel after the game so a win all around. That was a big game for us… Heading home in the morn g and get ready for the Classic. Got to beat OV and Trot… Show them fellas in DC Blackhawk hockey.

  • December 30, 2014 at 12:44 am

    @Iceman, Rinne gave up some goals he should’t, but your analysis and subsequent commentary is far off base. Before I criticize though, I do need to ask..
    -Did you play goalie?
    -And if so, where of recognition?

    Now assuming you did not (and I could be wrong), what intricacies of the position have you been through yourself? Where did you take your Goalie Fundamentals 101 and 102 classes – I’m assuming whatever the University of Phoenix for hockey is?

    1. One timer by Richards just inside the post from the most prime scoring area of the ice – the hashmark with a pass from the goal line. – Rinne was at the top of his crease, square to the shot, and on his angle…he’s 6’5″, so given his positioning this goal has to be credited to the shot.

    2. A third rebound where Rinne was on is butt, and Shaw banked it off him from behind the goal line. Nothing Rinne could do. No D-man played the body on Shaw, they were all fishing for the puck.

    3. The 4-on-3 one-timer by Hossa. Now this one, being 6’5″ Rinne made himself real small. If he had stayed tall, even if dropping into the butterfly, this likely would have been off the shoulder/mask.

    4. This was tipped by the foot of the forward going down to block the shot at the top of the circles. Rinne did react a little early to the shot, and he also maybe could have made a better save selection, but he tried to catch the tipped shot, and it hit his glove and came out. But what about the d-man standing right with Bickell and did’t box him out?

    S/O. Despite the fact that every goalie knows Toews is going 5-hole in a shootout, there is a reason why he still scores 48.65% of the time (one of the highest career averages of any player).

    Crawford, who I respect greatly…he spent in time in the organization in Norfolk and Rockford then finally got his shot and won a cup, but Rinne still outplayed Crow in the loss. Rinne faced more shots, and more prime scoring opportunities as compared to Crow. Rinne, admittedly, was flopping around much more than usual and didn’t ‘look’ comfortable, but I can count at least 5 times where he made multiple saves in a flurry. Yes, it is also a goalie’s job to control rebounds, but first and foremost the priority is to make the first save.

    Lastly, on a side not, as someone who faced Jeremy Morin everyday in practice for half a junior season, glad to see him getting a regular shift in the NHL even if it’s not with the Hawks.

  • December 30, 2014 at 1:10 am

    The heart of a champion, to never quit, never say die. Cliche? Yes, but it rings true for this team as they’ve proven it time and again.

    And yeah that Bickell goal was reminiscent of the tying goal against Boston in the 2013 SCF. Yeah, Bickell doesn’t do enough to please most Hawks fans – but he has scored some big goals in crunch time.

    Welcome back Richards – way to score and give the boys the juice they needed to get back in the game.

    Erixon makes me more nervous than Rundblad – a lot more nervous. Rundblad is doing OK – may he turns out to be a keeper after all.

    Happy New Year fellow Hawks fans. Be safe and see ya after the Classic.

  • December 30, 2014 at 3:44 am

    A little comfort food.

  • December 30, 2014 at 8:35 am

    It is easy to say Hawks should have kept J Hayes and traded Bickell. But at the time Bickell was at his playoff best. Now all we really need is for Bickell to understand that dirty goals along with an occasional snap shot, are his meal ticket.

  • December 30, 2014 at 9:09 am

    Pretty damn entertaining game. Going to be fun watching 6 or 7 of these in May.

    It’s kind of amazing how much differently the Preds play the Hawks than almost every other team in the league. They really attack those D Men after dump ins rather than bottling up the neutral zone. Of course, this can be remedied by the forwards not sitting 100 feet away at the opponents blue line. Maybe one day…

    I poo-poo on Andy Shaw a lot but he made an incredible play on that goal last night. Of course, that went along with a lot of blown assignments in his own end… but baby steps I guess?

    The Hawks are an absolutely terrifying team and I can only hope Rundblad keeps up his progress and can get some games with TvR before the end of the year. While Rozsival has his moments, I’d really like to see the Hawks be able to shift the third pairing without him more often. Especially against any team with speed because they just constantly burn him to the outside.

  • December 30, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Maverick: Respectfully, I disagree w/ selected portions of your response pertaining to the goalie matters. However, unlike Mr. Rufus, your response is organized and supported by facts. I never played goalie in a professional or non-professional setting; I was merely pointing out, in satirical fashion, and in contrast to Mr. Rufus, if Rinne is a Stanley Cup caliber goaltender, he doesn’t blow a 3-0 lead and the like. Crawford has won the Stanley Cup and six playoff series. I’ll take my chances w/ him over Rinne; Rinne is a good goalie, but that’s all he is. The West is far too competitive and loaded for Rinne to lead the Predators to the Cup. The facts — meaning the body of work — delineate that Crawford is a better “money” goalie than Rinne. Happy New Year.

  • December 30, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Iceman – So much of goaltending is dependent on the team in front of the goalie. Rinne is one hell of a goalie, but even the best goalies can’t stop everything. It’s up to the defense to put them in a good position to make the stops, which the Hawks do a really good job of.

    That said, I love me some CC even through his whiffs and stumbles down stairs.

  • December 30, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Also, big props to Maverick for forming an argument without calling someone an idiot. While I hate the “did you even play, bro?” schtick, the response was perfect.

  • December 30, 2014 at 9:49 am

    Some funny comments today. First Rinne is one of the best goalies in the NHL.
    Period! His only fault which is a great skill set that no Hawks goalie has is he “loves to play the puck” and play’s it very well, which at times puts him out of position, YES his size does matter but he’s very very disciplined and I would take him over any goalie in the NHL and yes he is a little like Dryden. Yes, Preds are a defensive driven team and no one plays D better than WEBBER did we see how easily he “rides and crushed” Toews out of play cleanly all night long? Bickell? Bickell is one of the most important players we have, especially in playoffs and when we face physical teams. Bickell has been on so many lines even fourth so his production is always less than what it would be if he played consistent top two lines. Layoff Bickell . . . please? One of the best snap-shots and wrist shots in the NHL.

  • December 30, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Very entertaining game, Nashville really came out hard in that 1st period. Give them credit but give the Hawks credit for coming back and taking care of business. It was nice to see some new names on the score board, Shaw, Hossa and Bickell.

    As I said before Richards might not be the fastest Hawk but the guy has skill. That shot was nice and to beat a guy who doesn’t get beaten cleanly to often is impressive. Rinne is a heck of a goalie but he did not have his best game. The Runblad shot that lead to Bickell’s tie goal. WTF was that? In and out of Rinne glove.

    Its nice to see the Hawks bottom pair contributing w new faces.

  • December 30, 2014 at 10:04 am

    The only goalies in the West who have proven they don’t crack under the Stanley Cup playoff lights are Quick, Crawford, and to a lesser degree, Niemi. At the end of the day, the other “contenders” have net issues when it comes down to money time — the playoffs. Blues, Ducks, Canucks, Predators. I’m not saying Rinne is a bad goalie, he is very good. He is the best goalie of the latter group of teams. He doesn’t have the pedigree, the mindset, and the team in front of him to win the Stanley Cup. You can’t compare regular season success to the spotlight of the playoffs. Apples & oranges. Maybe if Stalberg is recalled by Nashville, this will put them over the top come April & May…

  • December 30, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Maverick nice posting please come back more often

  • December 30, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Antti Niemi has a career save percentage of .907 in the playoffs. Also known as “bad”.

  • December 30, 2014 at 10:50 am

    As 2014 comes to an end I suggest we stop the woulda, shoulda, coulda regarding the Hayes brothers and Morin. I wish J. Hayes and Morin the best for productive careers but they are ex-Hawks and while Bickell can be very frustrating he has proven that he can show up at the most critical time of the season. In addition we have Versteeg (at $2m) instead of J. Hayes which looks pretty good right now and we will have an extra 2nd round pick in a deep draft for the loss of K. Hayes which unfortunately was unavoidable. I was a fan of Morin’s but Q clearly wasn’t and I’ll defer to him. Hopefully we will get something out of Erixon as the season goes on. The Hawks run in December has been pretty special – looking forward to big things in 2015!

  • December 30, 2014 at 11:10 am

    Maverick- nice to hear from you… I never played with or against Morin… but just watching how goalies- flinch backwards when Morin shoots the puck- tells me something.

    Mike the Mook- I had that exact same thought when Weber Manhandled Toews…
    That dude is one Bad Mother… That is a Man!!!

    but I still can’t find the strength to “Like” Bickell- sorry- just don’t respect a guy who goes to the net only in May or when ya pull the Goalie- so The chances of getting hit go down- cuz you out number them.

  • December 30, 2014 at 11:39 am

    It was nice to see some other guys score goals like Shaw, Bickel, Richards and Hossa. This team is never out of a game and that’s what makes them so good. Their resiliency is remarkable.

    A “thumbs up” to Jimmy Waite and all of his efforts to get Crow a lot more stable in the net, this year. His brother was a good goaltending coach, but NEVER played in the NHL. Crow isn’t scrambling as much and is much more square to the shooter than I can ever remember.

    You can see his finger prints all over Raanta, too. Jimmy Waite is an excellent goal tending coach and our young goalies in the minors will do well under his coaching.

    I bash Bickel enough on here, but the guy scores BIG goals! Let’s whip Washington on their home ice on New Year’s day and move on to the playoffs!!


  • December 30, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Hahahaha john… “also known as bad”

  • December 30, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    Rinne is my favorite goalie in NHL. Making the Preds my second favorite nhl team. I was glad to see the hawks figure out Rinne. Hossa, Sharp, Toews, and Kane all seem to have a tough time with Rinne in the past. This is why I think that Shaw and Richards really turned out well here.

    Everyone loves Shaw and many were on the fence about Richards. But I am sold now, Richards has performed far better than I thought he would. Great game, great come back, love it!

  • December 30, 2014 at 2:18 pm

    I don’t believe Q had an issue with Morin as much as people think. Unfortunatley for Morin, he has the skill-set and potential to be a top six forward. Look at the rosters dating back to Q’s start with the team, and each postion in his system has a mold to fit. (Compare 2010-2013 Cup rosters for examples, and the similarities between the thier replacements. ex: Bickell vs Byfuglien & Oduya vs. Campbell, etc…)

    Morin unfortunately did not have a spot on our roster that allowed him to be himself. He was not succeeding in our system because he was not playing the role he was built for. He’s a second line winger, who was relegated to third and fourth line defensive duties. It was clear he was unhappy, and that takes effect in the locker room. It was the best thing for both sides that he was moved.

    Had we decided to move Sharp this past off-season (and I’m certainly glad we didn’t), Morin would have had a spot on this roster, and he would have been slotted into a position that would have seen him succeed.

  • December 31, 2014 at 7:08 am

    for what its worth Jimmy Hayes had a gimme open net last night for Florida to ice the game and missed badly. I don’t think the Hawks would miss that during a playoff run.

  • December 31, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Hogs report… Witnessed the 2-1 loss to Hamilton…

    TT was the most noticeable player on the Ice – skating and handling the puck over the Blue line… setting some people up on PP and 5 on 5… Still not much of a Board game but very elusive with a little space vs. AHL boys…

    McNeill was good too… Made a nice feed to RasMOOSEn for only goal- who was probably 3rd/4th most noticeable with Regin.

    D guys- still not impressed w/ Cden.. Pokka has a nice shot – just missed the far post by inches 2-3 times. Really tough to report on D- cuz Hogs carried much of play- except for few PK’s in 2nd…

    Carey made a horrible Pirri like drop pass near Offensive Blue line, leading to Breakaway 1st goal for Hamilton.

    Danault- meh!
    Mashitter- No!!!

    They really seem to miss Ross and Johns… Who based on my 4 Hogs games are the most ready to play w/ Hawks… I would include TT, and McNeill in “the Next ready”…
    McNeill is skating better than I remember, On the Down side- that dude is not nearly as BIG as they say he is!!!

  • December 31, 2014 at 8:36 am

    Not to labor on the Bickell talk-I think two things are now evident. One is that his skating that was once pretty good for a big guy seems to be off since the injury. Second when some guys get the pay day they stop doing what got them the pay day, simply because it’s not in their make-up. Not all 225 ponders will sit in front of the net and take it from pissed off d-men game after game-you have to want to take that even after getting some big money.
    Yes 29 gets some big goals-he was first star last game but I didn’t see much from him that game (kind of like Crosbys’ Golden goal saved his mediocre Olympics-it happens big goals are rewarded) Read on the post about his amazing snap shot—and it is hard, but he scores just enough of those shots to make him think he is a more skilled perimeter player. (Bollig had a similar heavy shot)
    Finally given some truth serum I wonder what Shaw would say about 29 not taking it at 60 pounds and 6 inches bigger and he does it game in game out for the benefit of his team-it’s simple some will, some won’t-it will be interesting to see how Bicks does this playoff and what his long term future holds.

  • December 31, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for the report Wall, always curious to see who is playing well @ RFD. Almost landed a part time gig with RFD running stats on the Hogs but with my schedule it wouldn’t have worked. Anyways,….

    As for McNeil I wonder if he will ever be a NHL player? Nice to see Tuevo has picked up his game, word was he was down on himself lately because of the AHL grind. Hopefully he will be up here soon enough.

    As for the defensive I hope Stan moves some of these guys because between the log jam on the blue line and nobody asserting themselves something has to give.

  • December 31, 2014 at 11:18 am

    SSHM- kind of agree on D men… Really hope that 1 or both of Johns/Pokka pan out…
    Don’t have a lot of faith in what I have seen from the rest (I have not given up on Dbeck yet- but I was discouraged by Statue like D/on Hawks)… TJ- looks ok to me… but I am guessing there is something that I am not seeing well (and NHL guys are seeing) that has left him in the AHL this long…

    Here is to Hoping that Paliotta is as good as TvR… and the Numbers he is putting up this year!!!

    WTS- I can see SB trying to PU a middle of the road D-man (that fits)- at the deadline for the “run”… assuming same roster/health as today.

  • December 31, 2014 at 12:38 pm

    Maverick – I think Leddy brought more qualities similar to Campbell than Oduya, i.e. good breakouts, more offensive prowess, etc.

    SSHM – Just out of curiosity, what do you do for a living that garners consideration to be a RFD stats man? That sounds awesome and it would be a really cool job.

    Happy New Year Everyone!! Go Hawks!!!

  • December 31, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    @ Frolik Navidad

    In all honestly the role was low paying but came w 2 lower level seats to all Hogs games, and team credentials. Definitely an entry level type role but w my love of the game I gave it serious consideration I have a few yrs under my belt in the “big data & analytics field”.

  • December 31, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    SSHM – Thanks that would be awesome to move up the ladder though and maybe work for the Hawks one day!!!

  • January 1, 2015 at 2:08 am

    Richards aka ”not bad”

    season series over, i still cant get used to Preds being entertaining. it’s just weird

    happy new year yall

    WC’15 should be a gas gas gas

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *