Short-Handed Predators Top Blackhawks In OT

After two offensively improved performances, the Blackhawks hosted what was left of the Nashville Predators on Friday night. The Preds came in down seven players and their entire coaching staff because of COVID; Matt Duchene was also missing because of an injury.

Marc-André Fleury was back in net for the Hawks while Juuse Saros — who has killed the Hawks in the past — was in net for the Preds.

Also on the lineup for Chicago: newly acquired forward Kurtis Gabriel, who was brought in to add some muscle to the lineup. We’ll get our evaluation of his performance out of the way early: he sucks. Shouldn’t be on an NHL roster. He might have been trying to be physical, but he was going to get credited with bumps more than hits. He’s slow and doesn’t handle the puck well at all. He’s wasting a roster spot at the NHL level that a younger player should have.

Now, on to those who can play at the NHL level. Well, in theory.

Thomas Nosek scored his first career NHL goal for Nashville on the power play almost 12 minutes into the first period. Two minutes later, the Blackhawks were able to tie the game at one.

Kirby Dach’s fifth of the year came off assists from MacKenzie Entwistle and Dominik Kubalik. That line was effective in the first period and set up the Hawks’ first scoring chance.

Unfortunately, the Blackhawks didn’t generate many scoring chances in the first 40 minutes.

The first period ended with the Predators holding a 9-6 shot advantage. Chicago was short-handed twice in the first period and failed on their only power play.

The second period ended with the two teams closer to curing insomnia than scoring a goal. The Blackhawks had three power plays in the second; the middle of the three was cut short when Patrick Kane was sent off, giving Nashville their only advantage — albeit just 30 seconds — of the middle stanza. The Preds out-shot the Hawks 15-6 in the seconds period.

After two games that showed the Blackhawks’ offense might be coming around finally, Chicago managed 12 shots in 40 minutes on home ice against a team without any of their NHL coaching staff and eight NHL regular skaters. If not for Fleury the Hawks could have been chasing a one or two-goal deficit.

Chicago killed a Connor Murphy penalty late in the first half of the third period and the Hawks’ offense continued to be absent. And, as is usually the case when a team is banged up and desperate and hanging around a game, the Preds got the next goal. Colton Sissons, who was picking fights and taking cheap shots throughout the night, was able to slip a puck through Fleury with 8:27 left in regulation.

At the time of Sissons’ goal, Philipp Kurashev had four of the Blackhawks’ 16 shots on net in 52 minutes of hockey. That’s not the way to win a game in the NHL.

The Blackhawks’ next shot was a great one. And it was on the mark.

Jonathan Toews won a faceoff and found some open space. Riley Stillman attacked the net and found Toews with a perfect pass that Toews buried in the back of the net to tie the game at two.

The goal was Toews’ third in four games and extended his point streak to four games.

With just under three minutes left in regulation, the Blackhawks got a power play. The alleged advantage, Chicago’s fifth of the night, was a gong show. No shots.

The final minutes of regulation rolled off the clock with the game still tied at two and we headed to overtime. Chicago came into Friday night undefeated in six overtime/shootout games since Derek King took over as head coach.

Fleury stopped 28 of 30 in regulation; his teammates put 19 shots on net, 17 of which were stopped by Saros.

Stillman had a busy 16:25 in regulation including two blocked shots, an assist on Toews’ game-tying goal and a team-leading seven hits.

Unfortunately, the overtime didn’t last one minute. Jake McCabe jumped over the boards to replace Seth Jones and blew a tire as he joined the rush in the offensive end. He couldn’t catch up with Tanner Jeannot who scored the OT game-winner for Nashville.

With the exception of his bad moment in overtime, McCabe had a decent night. He led the Hawks with six blocked shots and was credited with two hits in 23:18. Murphy was credited with six hits and one blocked shot in a team-high 24:06 on the ice.

Toews won 12 of 18 faceoffs to lead the Blackhawks. Dach won six of 15 and Strome won five of 13.

NOTE: the Blackhawks’ game on Tuesday against the Florida Panthers has been postponed because of Florida’s COVID issues.

33 thoughts on “Short-Handed Predators Top Blackhawks In OT

  • December 17, 2021 at 10:57 pm

    McCabe had a decent night if you don’t count the times when he has the puck on his stick – his lack of puck skills show up every game – I question him being used in OT – he actually had a good look in OT on a terrific pass from Kane and completely fumbled it

    I don’t question his hear but he doesn’t have the skills to be playing 3 on 3 – why wasn’t Caleb or even Gus next after Seth?

    Good for Toews and what a pass from Stillman

    Did Strome get benched or hurt- I didn’t watch all of this game but I didn’t notice him much if at all in the third – he wasn’t playing to NSH’s intensity level for two periods so it wouldn’t be surprising

    Dach and Entwistle had good games

    When Borg is back he probably goes between 13 and 88

    The PP sucks and is costing them – tonight again they lost special team battle – seems weird to say but Kane does not move the puck fast enough – too much standing around trying to go cross seam

    At least they got a point – need two vs DAL

  • December 17, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    Tough game to sleepwalk through,12,17,88 should have lit it up against thos lineup, but no goals again at 5 on 5. Really that line didn’t have much O zone time or create good chances. Entwistle looks like a middle 6 power forward emerging, big, fast, physical, decent hands and works his butt off. Agree Gabriel not a Nhl player and a wasted spot tonight, needs to be a physical presence to be any help. Special teams struggling again, they gotta contribute more consistently. Hopefully they left enough the tank to give Stars a tough game tonight, didn’t leave it on the ice tonight.

  • December 17, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    Agree about Gabriel – Connolly should be back in tomorrow

  • December 17, 2021 at 11:16 pm

    Not much has changed since the 2017 playoff loss to the Preds. They still work harder,have more physical and talented fast twitch players that are consistent and relentless. They played their Milwaukee Admirals lineup without NHL coaches and still dominated and controlled the play. You can’t half ass it and take shifts off or coast against them and unfortunately we still have that problem with the bulk of our lineup. Give Coaches King and Crawford credit. They have implemented a strong defensive scheme that will keep games close if their goalie plays half way decent. Good to see Toews playing well after he has been slotted in the proper spot.

  • December 18, 2021 at 1:06 am

    This game, statistically, is misleading…and then again…not so much. The Blackhawks had a game plan that was not working and instead of adapting, they stubbornly stuck to it. At least for 40 minutes. Nashville was handling the Blackhawks and outshooting them. Even on the PP, the Blackhawks were hapless. That Entwistle got the puck to Dach and Dach scored, from such an odd angle, was pretty much luck. But, more often than not, luck is better than skill. That Dach was attacking and shooting is a good sign. He pairs well with Entwistle and Kubalik. Toews has blown past his funk and is scoring. That Stillman was aggressive, in the offensive zone, really made the play happen. Captain Serious didn’t miss.
    That’s about it for the good.
    The top line of DeBrincat-Strome-Kane was handled. A total of 5 SOG for that line. I’ll get to why I think that was. The 2nd line of Hagel-Toews-Kurashev is misleading. 6 SOG. But 4 were by Kurashev. 2 were by Toews. Hagel had an un-Hagel like night. His entire line is 0. That sucks. 3rd line of Kubalik-Dach-Entwistle A total of 3 SOG. 0 for Entwistle. He did get the assist and Dach’s only shot counted. Entwistle got the Assist, and he led the whole offense with 3 Hits. So…he was a physical presence. The 4th line of Gabriel-Slavin-Carpenter. Well…Slavin was solid. Carpenter was his usual solid self. Tab hit the nail on the head with Gabriel. He sucks. Off to Rockford and bring back Hardman.
    The team FO% was 55%. That looks great. Looks are deceiving. Toews led the way at 67%. Slavin, Carpenter, Hagel, and Entwistle were perfect. A combined 6 out of 6. Then the slide. Dach was bad at 40%. Strome was even worse at 38% Now you know why the 1st line was handled. They couldn’t win a faceoff to actually generate offense. The 3rd line got lucky. That just won’t cut it.
    Another telling stat was Giveaways. 11 GVA to Nashville’s 5. So…poor puck possession. Against a team without it’s main guns.
    Defensively, more surprises and let downs. S. Jones was NOT your TOI leader. It was C. Murphy with 24:06 TOI to S. Jones 23:49. The Defense was also a non-factor in the offensive zone. S. Jones with 2 SOG and Murphy with 1 SOG. No one else could shoot the puck. No one. There were some good stats though. McCabe was a blocking machine with 6 BLKS and Stillman was hitting all he could with 7 HITS. Yes, McCabe wiped out at a really bad time and hung MAF out to dry on the GWG. But really, the Blackhawks were outplayed and, for one of the few times, out coached.
    Lastly, if the new GM for the Blackhawks is going to trade for a big, slow, useless guy. He can just hold the fort until the team finds someone else to handle the GM duties. I know de Haan and Brett Connolly were the scratches for the game, but let’s not do that so much. I now shudder to think what the GM will get for de Haan or Gustafsson or anyone else. Let’s never see Gabriel in The Indian Head Sweater again. That’s a good place to start. One step up and two steps back. NEXT GAME!!!

  • December 18, 2021 at 1:50 am

    Wow, Tab. That’s about as rough an opening you’ve given the boys in a writeup in a while! Not disagreeing, but they got under you skin!

    Gabriel; Coach King said in the postgame that he was okay. His direct quote was that “he didn’t hurt us out there”. He then mentioned that factored into having more confidence in potentially giving Gabriel more minutes in future games. Unless King is playing possum here he apparently saw something different than some of the posters thus far.

    Murphy had a pretty bad game.

    One of those “very lucky to get a point” games, but tempered by the fact that it was against a division foe. The schedule is going to get weird with Covid cancellations etc. over the Holiday season. Here’s hoping the boys can pick it up a notch against a Dallas team that is struggling, and possibly looking to get well against the Blackhawks.

  • December 18, 2021 at 2:36 am

    Unreal, first people complain we have no muscle and then people complain he’s not a fighting “Connor McDavid”. Gabriel is who he is “Muscle”. 1st game trying to fit in and everybody here craps all over him. Yes, he’s not very talented but he’s the first guy we’ve had here since Bollig left that don’t have a problem with “getting dirty” with somebody. You want him just to jump on people and get thrown in the box?? I think people here just bitch period, first it was Toews, “He sucks, get rid of him”, then he finally gets going and then people switch over to rip Dach and now it seems they found a new guy to rip: Gabriel. Instead of “Committed Indians” it should be called “Whining Indians”. My two cents and now I’m heading for Florida for 10 days of golf and no whining. Peace and have a Merry Christmas!!

  • December 18, 2021 at 4:02 am

    Was not able to catch the first two periods. Looks the PP lost the game. Should make it mandatory never to clear the puck on the backhand.
    Hammer has a point. Gabriel is a goon. We need a goon. You want a good skating physical and fighting player that you can probably get trading Gabriel for? His name is the same as 88.
    DMen that should see the ice in OT. $Jones CJones Gus/Still/Kaly need speed or offensive minded.

  • December 18, 2021 at 6:33 am

    I find this season a very interesting study in contrasts.

    Bowman and Colliton had no understanding of the intangible aspects of hockey, or any sport for that matter. They seemed to look at things from an ‘intellectual’ standpoint without any grasp of the what drives a player or team to be great: competitiveness, work ethic, personal integrity, perseverance, character, etc… A 1st Round draft pick must be ‘better’ than a 3rd Round pick. Implementing a ‘man-and-a-half’ scheme is how you win games. They missed the most important variable in sports – emotions.

    Their approach was as foolish as Robert McNamara thinking he could run the Viet Nam war using only statistics.

    Derek King, by contrast, is never going to be called an ‘intellectual’. Nor does he have any sort of doctrine. When asked by Charlie Roumeliotis about his coaching philosophy said: “I just try to manage the players and manage the game” He also said in another interview he doesn’t really have a particular style or system. (I cringed when I heard that)

    I scratch my head at a lot of his personnel / situational decisions.

    However, Derek King understands the intangibles. He seems to understand what is going through a players mind and has the team playing with their hearts and not their minds. This may get us through the season, but is clearly not a long-term solution.

    I am just OK with where we’re at. I am glad we are not where we were. I worry about where we are going.

    Hopefully we will get President of Hockey Operations, a GM and a coaching staff who have some experience/success managing both the intellectual AND the intrinsic aspects of the game and can rebuild this team

  • December 18, 2021 at 6:42 am

    Regarding the pandemic’s impact:

    Cancel the Olympics in China to allow the teams to make up games and also penalize China for creating this catastrophe in the first place.

  • December 18, 2021 at 7:55 am

    JG, i like Kings approach of getting back to basics with these young players, keeping it simple for them and not changing alot about what they’re doing on the ice. His line combos seem to be looking for chemistry on them which plays on the emotions you mention, a good direction but how far it takes them time will tell.

  • December 18, 2021 at 8:03 am

    Interested to see if he keeps Kubalik with 19 and 38, then Kurashev with 77 and 58. Those lines were statistically better after he swapped those 2 last night.

  • December 18, 2021 at 8:11 am

    JG – good point regarding the heady coach -(Colliton) and the coach of the heart (King)

    A great coach manages to do both – also not sure if King is the guy – I hope whoever gets the gig permanently can do both

  • December 18, 2021 at 9:06 am

    Mitchell recalled, wonder if that means Dehaan won’t be available for bit. Hope Mitchell plays tonight.

  • December 18, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Ot preds had a 3-2 rush building and girly kane had to go off and change giving them a 3-1 rush !
    He may have an A on the jersey but there is no A in that jersey. Very poor. A beer leaguer would be castigated and laughed at ! I hope he is ok then

  • December 18, 2021 at 9:56 am

    Omb comment disappeared again last night.
    Anyway it was bad penalties that kill that game.

  • December 18, 2021 at 10:17 am


    spot on. kane takes a puck on the chin and doesn’t miss a step offensively. once the puck is turned over the pain in his chinny chin chin apparently intensifies to the degree he is unable to play defense. steps off the ice turning a nashville three on two into a three on one. pathetic lack of effort.

    kudos to mc cabe for busting his ass trying to catch up to the play.

  • December 18, 2021 at 11:08 am

    Who is the genius that thought #79 Gabriel belongs in the NHL lineup ? You can time his speed with a sun dial, he has zero reason to be taking a roster spot….unreal.

  • December 18, 2021 at 11:36 am

    How soon they forget, a game ago everybody was talking about Kane’s solid defensive play in ot and looking forward to Gabriel getting in the lineup.

  • December 18, 2021 at 11:51 am

    Gus totally sucked and starting OT without Toews for the faceoff is a huge mistake, first possession usually controls the play

  • December 18, 2021 at 12:06 pm

    Damn, people we got manhandled by an AHL team. If not for the swimmer MAF it would’ve been a 4-2, 5-2 blowout.

    All Kane does on the PP is try to get it to Cat for a one timer, he doesn’t trust anyone else and if I’m the next GM I ask Kane where he’d like to go to try for another Cup.

    McCabe can block shots, same w/Murphy. What a conundrum that is for they are on the ice for a ton of shots against but they’re lucky enough to block some of them. As someone said above once either of these 2 get the puck on their stick, it’s a turnover, a pass to the skates to slow the rush down or icing.

    You can’t win against AHL teams scoring only 2 goals per game.

    We are 9 points out of a PO spot and we have to pass 6 teams to get there. Should we lose tonight and the Oilers win make it 11 points out.

    Almost anyone here could’ve been better than JC/Stan but that’s a real low bar to go over.

    @JG have you heard about “Gain of Function” and Fauci? China was just where the lab was, maybe one day you’ll figure it out, doubtful but maybe.

  • December 18, 2021 at 12:21 pm

    Olympics may be a no go for the NHL players regardless of whether they are cancelled or not.
    A lot of people blame China for the virus itself, but they take the virus and its contagiousness very, very seriously.
    From what was said on the pregame the other night, if a player tests positive in China during the Olympics they may be quarantined THERE, FOR 3 TO 5 WEEKS!!!!!
    How would we like players out of NHL action for up to close to a month because they’re stuck overseas?

    The vaccine does a tremendous job of keeping people from getting deathly ill, but the pro leagues weren’t counting on people still testing positive at such a high rate …. some asymptomatic, but still with spread among those working together. That’s throwing a monkey wrench into the NHL, NBA and NFL right now.

  • December 18, 2021 at 1:07 pm


    kane playing aggressive defense and leading to the gwg against washington doesn’t excuse his pathetic lack of effort last night. especially after he continued to play offensively after being hit by the puck, but then quit on his team when the puck was turned over and they needed him on defense.

    kane has made a career of often dogging it on defense. last night was a prime example and it cost them.

  • December 18, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    The PP every time it goes flat over the last few years, you see the players looking liking like robots, pressing trying to make it happen, instead of keeping it simple, create and everybody just playing as one.
    How many times lately have we seen Debrincat and Kane too, for as elite scorers that they are, pass up a chance of getting a good shot on goal, to try and force a pass through defenders with no or little hope of being successful. Even Hagel who was finding success shooting the puck, now seems to have the make the highlight reel pass bug, instead of shooting. Put pucks on the net and as we saw goals happen, put passes on sticks and skates and you usually don’t have alot of good things happen.

    The PK right now is being exploited on the back side, nobody in postion to take away that pass across against them and goalies not having time to get over. Seems like earlier in season the Blackhawks were finding the open man on PP and taking away the passing lanes on the PK with consistency. Now that pendulum has swung and PP can’t find the passing lanes and the PK seems very porous in trying to take them away from other teams.

    This could very well be their last game for awhile tonight, we’ll see but special teams is going to be very important to any success this team enjoys this year. Score one PP goal or kill off oe of those PKs they scored on they likely win last night..

  • December 18, 2021 at 3:43 pm

    Mitchell in for Gus? – hopefully

    I assume 44 is still sick

  • December 18, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    On the OT winner after McCabe stumbled and the Preds started back up the ice I think he gave Kane a push from behind with his stick to help him backcheck but instead Kane went off and that’s when McCabe busted his ass to try and get back

    Anyone else see that or am I seeing things?

  • December 18, 2021 at 4:55 pm

    @Big Indian

    From what I’ve read is that many NFL players are pissed with the protocol as a majority of positive tests seem to be people who are asymptomatic. I imagine it’s most likely the same with NHL players. Both leagues test players every day, so it’s no a stretch that they are getting more and more positives who are

    Also one has to take into account that there are many false positives being had with the PCR tests.

    Back to hockey, I imagine tonight’s game will be the last until 2022, the league will take a break IMHO

  • December 18, 2021 at 5:04 pm


    more a nudge, but yes, it happened. if he felt it he obviously ignored it.

  • December 18, 2021 at 5:25 pm

    Sounds like Mitchell won’t be in lineup tonite.
    Wrap there was some sort of interaction between Kane and McCabe last night in ot.
    Wasted valuable time if McCabe was trying to push him up the ice.

  • December 18, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    Why won`t Mitchell be in the line up ?

    Man that Jokiharju- Nylander trade looks like a fleecing more and more every day , the kid is really coming along nicely .

  • December 18, 2021 at 7:05 pm

    Mighta been recalled in case a test came back positive if Dehaan not ready to go. Also if Mitchell stays up until Monday roster freezes go in effect he gets to draw his Mhl salary over break

  • December 18, 2021 at 8:05 pm

    Think I am gonna just read John Galt’s posts and laugh in agreement.

    Save myself some typing.

    Bowman proved how much of a loser he is by the way he went sniveling out the door, pointing fingers, no apologies, and not manning up.

    If we you backed that guy over the lest several years, you backed the wrong horse

  • December 18, 2021 at 8:35 pm

    So I am watching Dallas score 3 goals on 20 shots and the 2nd period is half over.

    Goal 3 was simply an abysmal goal allowed by Huet…..I mean 32.

    Mere seconds after his team cuts the lead in half.

    And this from a 27 year old European league pro….not some 20 year old kid on a call up.

    As stated clearly earlier, not sure who the answer is as the #2 goalie, but Huet, I mean 32, ain’t it.

    His team is busting ass and just cut the lead to 3-2.

    Now the gotta pray Huet, I mean 32, does not let in a 4th

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