Cam Ward, Blackhawks Hang On To Beat Preds

It’s been an interesting few days for the Blackhawks.

Corey Crawford goes down with a concussion.

Henri Jokiharju loaned to play in the World Juniors.

Artem Anisimov and Gustav Forsling activated off injured reserve.

Ryan Hartman returns to play his first game in Chicago in a visiting jersey.

With another division rival in town, the Hawks desperately needed an improved effort after they were embarrassed by the Jets.

The fans at the United Center got exactly that.

The Hawks put forth an effort that is a great example of what makes this team so frustrating. There are night, like Tuesday, when the Hawks show up with some passion, emotion and intent and have shown the ability to play with good teams (Nashville, Pittsburgh). There are other nights they look like an AHL team that’s coming off a weekend bender.

Thankfully this contest was competitive.

Chicago out-shot Nashville 12-11 in a fairly clean first period. Pekka Rinne played outstanding and Cam Ward matched him for most of the opening 20 minutes. Unfortunately for Ward, Kevin Fiala found the back of the net 33 seconds remaining in the first. The Preds were outplayed for a significant portion of the first period but took a lead to the locker room.

The Hawks raised their intensity in the second period and it paid off. Forsling tied the game with his second of the year at 15:22.

Chicago got their second power play of the period with Rocco Grimaldi in the box less than two minutes after the Forsling goal and – stop everything – they scored a power play goal to take the lead.

Erik Gustafsson was credited with the goal, but having someone parked in front of the net paid off again.

After two periods, the Hawks had a 2-1 lead on the scoreboard and a 28-18 shot advantage.

Could they hang on in the third?

The usual stupid penalties, ugly turnovers and missed assignments didn’t show up on this night. Ward faced 13 shots in the third period and stopped all of them, preserving the victory.

Your ice time leader on the blue line in this one was Carl Dahlstrom (22:01). He’s been terrific since coming up from Rockford, which only amplifies the frustration with the hot garbage Stan Bowman filled his blue line with over the summer instead of giving Dahlstrom a long look from the jump.

Patrick Kane led Chicago with seven shots on net.

Dylan Strome played some left wing in the game with Anisimov back in the lineup. He still won six of 11 faceoffs and put four shots on net; Anisimov only took one faceoff in the game.

Marcus Kruger left the game early after he got blown up by Hartman. Hartman was handling the puck and Kruger appeared to go hard head-first into Hartman’s elbow.

36 thoughts on “Cam Ward, Blackhawks Hang On To Beat Preds

  • December 18, 2018 at 10:34 pm

    Gustafsson is a keeper on a good team. He will prove defensively over time. Defensemen like him with his abilities don’t grow on trees. Dahlstrom and him are examples (and Hillman is waiting in the wings, Jorki as well) why you don’t draft two D men top two picks two drafts in a row. Whalstrom & Veleno would have filled the Hawks forwards needs.

    Anyway good evening….

  • December 18, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Improve over time, Gus defense, not prove. Typo.

  • December 18, 2018 at 10:40 pm

    Solid effort all around.

    I liked the Dahlstrom-Murphy pair and the TOI distribution for the d-men:

    Dahlstrom: 22:01
    Murphy: 21:52
    Keith: 21:34
    Gustafsson: 20:13
    Forsling: 16:58

  • December 18, 2018 at 10:54 pm

    Hartman headshot was intentional. I donot care if his elbow, only moved a little, it did, and he waited for Krugs to get close, put his elbow out/before hand and tried hold it there without moving. Then he looked again as Krugs got close, then didn’t looked and felt when Krugs was close, and drove forward with elbow on purpose and headshot to face.

    I donot care how fast the game is, he set that up on purpose. He looked twice to see him coming and lined it up.
    I havnt ever had anything against Hartman but after that deliberate headshot, hes a dick to cheap shot former team player. Knew he played dirty sort of but you donot ever cheap shot your former team.
    People thought for a little bit he was better then Shawzer. Only first yr did he play clean/penalty wise.

    Shawzer is ten times the man (same with Krugs when in prime) as 38.
    What a great trade that was.

  • December 18, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    That’s great that 56 and others can be good.
    I still want/rather have a top 4 D like NAS does for 5-10yrs.

    When we get the Four Horsemen/plus whos good here and they get established, we have top 3 D again.

  • December 18, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Iceman, I disagree with your criticism about drafting two D in a row. Going into the draft, the only D the Hawks could count on were Keith, Murphy, and probably rookie Joki. Yes, the Hawks need much help up front, but if the two picks were deemed to have high upside, why not take them? There will be other opportunities to get help up front from trades, the next draft, and FAs. Unfortunately, this is going to take time. Hope you’re right about Gus. If he can improve in his own zone, he will be a key piece.

  • December 19, 2018 at 12:17 am

    Iceman one game against a banged up Preds team on the 2nd half of a back to back, and everythingwe’ve wafched this year all of a sudden the D doesn’t need to get better, c’mon. Murphy and Dahlstrom look like a good pair, see how it goes over a bigger sample. Seabrook with 3rd pair controlled minutes was able toplay a better looking game. Keith aand Gus were the only pair that seem to struggle at times. Down the stretch late in the game i believe he went Keith Murphy mostly and Forsling Dahlstrom as pairs.
    Hartman was being Hartman and doing a sell job to the refs on the Kruger play.
    Ward had a strong outing, good to see him get the win.

  • December 19, 2018 at 2:57 am

    Taking nothing away from the effort the Hawks had tonight because it was pretty good – but Ian is correct when he points out we didn’t get the Pred’s best game with a full roster. If the Hawks play 7 out of the next 10 games like that – then let’s get excited but not yet.

    A little more good news is most of our fellow cellar dwellers won tonight too so we didn’t lose any ground in the race to the bottom.

    I like the first look at 17-15-88. AA does his thing to make space for Kanes east/west game and Strome had some nice plays with Kane. Kane should have buried at least two and normally he would but seems a little snake bit lately. I hope JC sticks with that line and gives them some time to see what they can do.

    I wonder who takes Kruger’s spot.

  • December 19, 2018 at 3:34 am

    Bang on Iceman! No reason to draft 4 dmen in 2 years as your top 2 picks!!! 2 dmen would have been enough. We have no forwards as prospects? Perlini and Sikura? Kahun? Hayden? That is very week! Just NHL bodies who will be out of the NHL very soon! Why Beaudin and Mitchell? And watching Carter Hart finally start for the FLYERS, a top goalie drafted in the top 3 rounds would have also helped. But no, GRAVEL, PEETERS or NALI?
    Again, GM has no vision how to rebuild. Plus all those Dmen are built the same, TOO SMALL and TOO LIGHT! Evan Bouchard or Dobson would have given us size and mobilty. Joki is too soft as well. Don’t compare the PREDS 4 top dmen to those 4 dmen Hawks drafted, please. The size and mobility of all of them except for Ryan Ellis (who is mobile, wide and has lots of grit) is way above what Bowman drafted.

  • December 19, 2018 at 5:18 am

    Good game.

    Is Kane starting to feel his age? His hands don’t seem to be as good as they used to be. Hopefully he’s just snake bit, because it’s getting ridiculous–Saad levels of ridiculous. Except even Saad has been scoring more often lately.

  • December 19, 2018 at 6:31 am

    We’re starting to see some of the future – some but not all of these young guys will be here when the Hawks are good again

    Murphy/Dahlstrom has been a really solid pair and it is good to have Forsling back
    Like I said yesterday we may see Joki going to RKF once he returns – we’ll see

    Strome is part of the future as well – looks like him and Kane could develop some good chemistry

    I liked Perlini on 4th line – that could be his role for the present

    I’d like to see Johnson called up to take Kruger’s spot – he could be another one who is still here when the Hawks are good again

  • December 19, 2018 at 7:06 am

    It can happen on any backtoback, we played good agasint WIN short handed in a backtoback. We played good and hard and earned it, whether they were short or not. Not saying anything other then that, on that.
    That is good games, except SJ for a few games now/4?
    Still important to get that top5 skill.

    ER, even though some teams won, there are now 5 teams that are 2or3 under .500 and were still at 8 and LA at 9. I would like to have a comfortable cushion on that, because that wave of shit teams is hard to stop. I donot think were a bottom10 team/just record, in being we donot have a full roster. Good thing for that stuff is were in hardest division in hockey and 4 of 8 worst teams are in east division and will get ‘free’ wins against each other. So that helps, big time and can be the diff.

  • December 19, 2018 at 7:12 am

    I tend to agree with Morrison-hard to prove but I think Hartman extended the elbow out and made it look like he was just backing up-
    back in the day Howe probably did that to send messages to other players-problem is today with what we know about concussions it’s hard to watch-and if a player like Toews got one of these it could/might end his career with his other concussions-

    Dirty, subtle play-Hartman has that nasty gene. I don’t condone shots to the head-it’s wrong, but not one Hawk has that in his DNA. The last two-Shaw and Hartman.(Keith has it a bit, but it’s faded)
    Teams are picking on the Hawks-and they know they can get away with it for two reasons-
    1) no one will come back at them]
    2) the power play doesn’t concern them

  • December 19, 2018 at 7:26 am

    It was indeed a good effort last night, which shows this team can at least compete when they buy into playing hard. Of course they caught a break that the Preds were playing without a full roster that had to play the night before. Any time Hawks beat the Preds I’m a happy guy. Thank you Cam Ward. He was very good last night and just a little better than Rinne, who also had an excellent game. Yes, Hawks have showed up against to play against divisional foes now 2 games in a row. Hope we see a similar efforts upcoming vs Dallas.

    I thought Gus had a really, really good game last night on both ends of the ice. Yes, 56 actually played a strong defensive game. It happened! Dahlstrom also looking steady yet again, along with Forsling. Murphy is fitting in nicely. Even Duncs had a little extra jump last night. Not all positive though as Preds set up camp in front of Ward all night with not much physical resistance from Hawks defenders. Preds players pound our guys. Why not give em some back?

    Yea, I think Hartman conveniently left his elbow high while playing the puck just before Kruger decided to plant his face/nose while falling into said elbow. Was it intentional? Was it simply Kruger falling at exactly the wrong time and place? Both maybe. Hartman didn’t look that upset about it, although play took place along the nearby wall along my side of the ice.

    I’d love to see any Hawks player clock Johansen who whacks and hacks his way around the ice with impunity, especially on face offs.

    Kaner missed a few last night he obviously wanted back. Lots of Hawks guys seemed to be aiming at Rinne’s bread basket as well.

    On the bitch box tonight I am calling out the Hawks brass/crew for playing really bad music at absurdly high, ear splitting levels, the extra stupid so called “entertainment” between whistles, using women with voices so grating and high pitched that they could crack a glass to moderate the idiotic contests. Trotted out in the past 2 weeks is the bush league, icing on the cake, ‘c’mon fans make some noise”, urging the jumbotron addicts to whoop it up. Isn’t the organ leading the fans in a LETS GO HAWKS! cheer enough? Hawks fans, Bears fans, Sox, fans, Cubs fans, yes, even Bulls fans don’t need to be told when to cheer for their teams. Who came up with this so called entertainment formula? Isn’t a good game all fans really want? I guess not considering that a large percentage of people in the UC still jump up and down and don’t watch the game once the puck has dropped on faceoffs during the dumbass t shirt drop? I will call the Hawks office today and bend my ticket reps ear about this BS. It was that bad last night. I am also seriously questioning my season ticket renewal for next year, and sadly contemplating ear plugs to boot for remaining games this season.

    That said,

    Let”s Go Hawks!

  • December 19, 2018 at 7:37 am

    Not sure what complaint is with drafting consecutive d-men in the draft. Redundancy isn’t bad in prospects and it gives you options. Mobile defenseman are coveted and having an excess can lead to a trade to fill a need. One of those guys gets injured or doesn’t pan out, you have someone else waiting in the wings. And the Hawks biggest problem is a drop off in talent an the blue line. Having a glut of high end blue line prospects is s good thing.

  • December 19, 2018 at 7:56 am

    Re: Drafting Forwards/D guys… at first i was pissed Hawks didn’t go with Veleno 2nd (1st rd) pick… but after watching Beaudin… I am ok with the pick.

    Rockford Forwards– really suck now… But they did nab Entwistle/Hagel (who are a little older/closer to ready) and have Kurashev/Barratt in the fold (who Will both make NHL some day- which is pretty awesome for NON 1st round guys)… I like Nordgren too (if little guy can stay healthy)

    But Rockford Forwards– really NOTHING there—maybe Edjsell- makes NHL sometime…

    so Hull65 and Iceman- do make a point there

  • December 19, 2018 at 8:57 am

    Its only one game but it is nice to see the team show some heart. Nice to see a W.

    As for Kane, he is dogging it and I sure as hell would not skate him 20 min a night. The last time he skated hard was during the Pitt game when he chased the empty net puck. Watch him on the bench, he has that I don’t give a shit look, and he tunes the coach out completely.

    Hartman held the elbow out in anticipation of contact, and he skated backwards leaving the puck in order to build momentum to deliver the blow. He was very discrete but it was pre-conceived contact leading with his elbow not his shoulder. He did not aim his elbow it at Krug’s head because he did not raise it. Should have been a penalty for elbowing and someone should have given him a face full of leather.

    Team are taking liberties with the Hawks. 3 players being concussed in the last month is too much. There was no retaliation to Kane or Hartman and other team know this. Not sure how Arty got his. The Kat is not going to strike fear in opponents when they take runs at players even thou he was the only one to stand up for Keith. When you see the team leaders playing soft like Kane, Keith and Toews, that example permeates the whole team.

    Embrace the rebuild, enjoy the memory of the 3 cups that these gentlemen earned and let them earn another some place else. Trade any piece of the core that can get prospects or draft picks. Watching your team lose most games and get beat up is no fun.

  • December 19, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Those little scoring defenders, if they all pan out, are incredible trade chips to have. Move up in a future draft or trade for a forward piece.

    Dobson is a bean pole at 6’3 175. 5’11 and 175 probably stronger fwiw. May not fill in that frame. Hes also way off his scoring total from last year. Bouchard may be a player at some point, kind of reminds me of Seabrook but Bovquist was the most talented player not named Dahlin and for a top 10 pick you take the guy with the most talent. Going to be a steal at 8.

    Preds missing their two top finishers and best defender. Still nice to win.

    Phil, they do that garbage at the bulls games too and it is horrid.

    Good thing they signed a bunch of jabronis instead of giving Dahlstrom a shot right away.

  • December 19, 2018 at 9:11 am

    Oh my AJ, you are suffering the Bulls home games at the UC? You are made of tough stuff to watch that mess. Not like the Hawks are lighting it up either…

    Why has our society embraced high levels of worthless high volume sensory overload wherever we go? I used to enjoy watching the shoot arounds before Hawks games, but now they have the crap music turned up so loud I won’t sit in there. Been years since I did that. Even out in the concourse that music is numbingly loud for the shoot around. Why?

    Let’s Go Hawks!

  • December 19, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Re: Dahlstrom- I pined for year- he was most “noticeable” D man in Rockford…

    He stays out of trouble on the D side (for the Most part)… Is not a “speedy” guy… but does show some quick feet in change of directions

    and is “sneaky” with shot and Joining rush at right time ( kinda like TvR)- even though both Dahlstrom and TvR- are just average in speed- so shows pretty Good IQ/anticipation.

    Amazing how much better Murphy looks this year versus last year???
    Different systems??? OR The comparisons around him- that much worse???

    Any way- Dahlstrom and Murphy- actually have some size to win some battles on Boards/in front of net

  • December 19, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Last year was a defence draft and the need for high end defencemen was posted daily on here prior to then. Draft defence when the draft is deep in defencemen and this year in a deep forwards get some good forwards.
    Veleno will make a good big physical bottom 6 forward in this league, maybe a center or maybe on wing. It looks like he will be on left wing with Bowers in the middle at wjc. He is having a good season putting up good numbers but still one good month doesn’t guarantee anything. Beaudin is a potential top 4 defenseman and Boqvist high on talent. Having too many is not a bad thing if that happens.

  • December 19, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Was at the game last night and had a few thoughts….it’s amazing how Dahlstrom and Murphy have stabilized our back end and allowed us to not play guys that were hurting us every game. Keith is still hands down our best defender. You see it most in his edge work. He has the agility to realign himself to receive a pass or keep a puck in at the blue line that none of our other guys can match. Those kind of little plays matter.

    I have complained about the Schmaltz trade but I am going to stop complaining about Strome. I think he is a good piece to have. Not sure if he ends up on wing or center, but to me he has shown enough that he will be an effective player for us. He was competing all over the ice. Schamltz has a higher ceiling, much higher, if he gets there. But Strome does things Schmaltz didn’t like battle hard for the puck in the O zone and spend time in front of the net.

    Kane is fine. Where it gets tough for him is we can’t ice a line where he has players to play with who are anywhere near as good as he is. That’s probably hard to deal with at times, and it definitely limits his effectiveness. While in Colorado you have a whole line of guys who are top scorers in the league, Kane, a former Art Ross Trophy winner, is playing with a couple guys who career highs are probably like 15 points and 45 points. And their line looked good in spurts and is worth giving more time, but emphasis here is on the fact the Hawks are an awfully thin team up front.

    I think Sikura has a chance to be ok and stick in the NHL. It will help a couple years from now when he gains some strength. Best thing I saw from him was a play in the defensive zone where he did nothing. He covered his point and stayed near the defenseman. As the Preds worked the puck in deep and to the center of the ice, he sagged down towards the middle for support but had the presence of mind to spin his head around to keep tabs on the defenseman he was responsible for to make sure he was still covered and not pinching down. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I have seen our wingers make such sound decisions in the defensive zone.

    Then again, later in the same period, the puck was sent around the boards and he could not prevent the pinching defenseman from keeping it in. So it’s one thing to know what to do and another thing to do it. He is a bit pass happy too but I think he could carve out a niche as a lower line skill guy, sort of like Hino was.

  • December 19, 2018 at 10:13 am

    Great post Wraparound.

    Ian, I agree with you 100%. We took blue chip defensemen in the last two drafts and will be greatly rewarded in the future. Case in point, look at Nashville last night and the last 3 years. The strength of their team is built from the goalie out. Their defense often gets referred to as the best unit in the league or close to it.

    The Hawks will stock the cupboard with forwards this upcoming draft in a year when forwards are a strength of this draft. That’s fortuitous.

    One more thought : I love that Strome has a nose for the net and shoots the puck, jams at pucks, fires from the center of the ice as well as bad angles. He’s a scorer and he’s just getting started.

    All that above and we still likely will get Hughes or Kappo.

  • December 19, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Kaapo and or Kaliyev!!!!

  • December 19, 2018 at 11:13 am

    Phil, yea games 30-80 last yr and this yr being transition I wish I could get a discount of sorts.
    We pay our dues for the seats tv channels rewarded on the good yrs. 2 yrs and it will be jumping again.

    Would like them to get a lot more organ music going again, when we get good deep roster again, in 2 yrs.

  • December 19, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Thinking playing hard like that was for Crow.

  • December 19, 2018 at 11:25 am

    Phil, to be fair they were fancy box tickets won at charity auction so more went to drink and eat and hang with the guys.

    Re Strome : he has to play center. Gotta think AA is on the move soon.

  • December 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Not needing to trade for cap space. Adding more picks and have enough for two high end ufasin cap space. Even though we only prob add one this summer.

    Some of Older half of core players/any players that get good return at deadline and draft. 15/30 kind of players.

    19/88/12/17/28stays and 20 does to.

  • December 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm

    15 should get a 1st rd pick,from a top 5-10 team that wants a big center for playoffs.
    What teams are thin at center of all top 10-15 teams, that might be option.
    Whatever team does, it’s going to a 15-31 pick.

  • December 19, 2018 at 12:47 pm

    A couple of points

    1) re: Dahlstrom’s skating – he is a much better skater then TVR is or was IMO. He moves very well for his size and he’s got decent speed again for his size

    Unless his recent play is a mirage he’s here to stay

    2) Sikura seems to be contributing more each game – he still needs to figure out how to win the puck on his own but his development is trending up – I don’t see a top 6 player there but a good 3rd liner eventually (hopefully)

  • December 19, 2018 at 1:43 pm

    Putting together a high octane line for Kane should be a priority for next season for a successful reload. Some combination of fa or high end draft pick ready to step in, trying him with different linemates this year to see if any potential there, however. Need him playing at top of his game to if things are going to get turned around.

  • December 19, 2018 at 5:08 pm

    Bread Man or other ufa.
    Top5 skill FW coming no matter what.

  • December 19, 2018 at 7:43 pm

    15 isn’t going to get us a 1st rd pick. Best scenario is playoff team with injured 3rd/4th line C to give up a good prospect or 2nd rd pick.

  • December 19, 2018 at 9:46 pm

    15 plus could, depending on team.
    get 2nd and add to get that 15-31 pick and get the Kaliyev guy around 15-20 range.

  • December 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    Agree with Wrap’s comment on Dahlstrom’s skating – he is much smoother than TVR. Dahlstrom is 6’4 and has taken longer to physically mature. I think Strome is similar, he will be much improved in 1-2 years. The more I watch him, the more his offensive instincts appear to be high-end.

    Wall – agree with the comment on Murphy. Amazing that the guy is injured all year but when he comes back he looks way more comfortable and confident than he did last year when he was healthy. That’s a bit of a head scratcher as to why.

  • December 19, 2018 at 11:52 pm

    Murphy is coachs style/system differences. Watched a lot from above.

    Were going to be that much better the more of the guys we have now, make it, to be good for the 23man in 2 yrs.

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