The Nashville Predators journeyed to the United Center for a Halloween night tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks, and in a game befitting the night of tricks and treats, it was a wild affair as both Pekka Rinne and Corey Crawford will have nightmares about this contest. Crawford will probably sleep a bit better than Rinne as the Hawks outlasted the Predators in overtime 5-4.
second game in a row, Patric Hornqvist wasted no time getting the
Predators on the board. Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford misplayed
the puck behind his net, failing to stop the puck. David Legwand picked
up the puck and found Hornqvist driving the net for an empty net tap in
just 26 seconds into the contest. For Hornqvist, this was his third goal
of the season, and as he has started to return to 100% health, his game
has started to heat up.
The Predators gave the Hawks
three power plays in the first period, and against an explosive
offensive like Chicago has, this is tempting fate. Fortunately for the
Predators, they were able to kill off all three penalties.
Predators did a good job of limiting Chicago's speed through the
neutral zone in the first period, and once Chicago gained the zone, were
hard on the puck, limiting the scoring chances. Nashville netminder
Pekka Rinne, making his 11th straight start, was solid in net, turning
away the Hawks chances...
Until there were 49 seconds
remaining in the period. The Predators had the puck in their zone but
failed to control it and clear the puck. Patrick Sharp got control of
the puck and slipped it to Patrick Kane, who whistled a quick wrist shot
by Rinne to tie the game at 1.
As this season has
progressed, the Predators have started to discover their identity, and
that is one that incorporates speed, solid defense, and aggressive
forechecking. Those characteristics were on display in the second
quarter. After being outshot 9-8 in the first period, the Predators came
out skating hard in the second and recorded the first 6 shots on goal
en route to outshooting the Blackhawks 11-6.
effort paid off with a Craig Smith goal at 6:00 of the second. Marty
Erat broke into the zone, drew the defense to him and found Smith alone
just inside the face off circle. Smith roofed a shot over the shoulder
of Corey Crawford to make it 2-1 Predators.
would stand until 11:51 of the second as Patrick Kane found Nick Leddy
with a nice pass from behind the net and he lasered a shot past Rinne to
tie the game at 2.
The Blackhawks gave the Predators a
prime opportunity to take the lead again as Patrick Sharp was called
for goaltender interference and just 25 seconds later Dave Bolland fired
the puck over the glass to give the Predators a 5 on 3 advantage.
Patric Hornqvist made the Hawks pay for their transgressions as he took a
pass from Ryan Suter and used Brent Seabrook as a screen to fire the
puck past Crawford to make it 3-2 at 18:48 of the second period.
again, a young team early in the season was going into the third period
with a lead. Would this team show maturity and be able to hold the
The Blackhawks opened the third period buzzing
and the Predators were back on their heels. The pressure paid off for
the Hawks as the Predators turned the puck over at the Chicago blue
line and Patrick Kane broke in on Rinne and fired a shot that trickled
through between his arm and his body to tie the game at 3 at 14:59. This
was a goal that Rinne would like to have back.
Predators then started to go into self destruct mode. Marty Erat was
called for slashing and almost immediately Jerred Smithson was called
for roughing and Matt Halischuk got a 10 minute misconduct penalty. The
Blackhawks would now have nearly 2 minutes of a 5 on 3 power play.
Predators penalty killers did an amazing job killing off the 5 on 3
with great hustle and determination. Kudos to those guys on the PK unit,
because their play throughout the night was spectacular.
Bickell put the Hawks ahead 4-3 as the cycle down low worked to
perfection for Chicago and he rocketed a shot past Rinne at 13:08.
That lead lasted 1:41 as David Legwand buried a rebound of a Jordin Tootoo shot at 14:49 to tie the game at 4.
again, the Predators PK unit was going to be called upon to hold off
the Hawks as Ryan Suter was called for slashing. The Predators kept
tempting fate, giving the Hawks their 7th power play of the night.
once again, the PK unit did their job, aided by an amazing save by
Rinne as he sprawled to take a way a scoring opportunity by Kane who was
alone in front of the net.
Regulation ended with the
teams tied at 4. The Predators were not able to hold another third
period lead, but unlike some earlier games in the season, they fought
back to take the powerful Hawks to overtime and earn a point.
the third period, the Hawks outshot the Predators 18-8. Frankly, as
much pressure as the Hawks put on the Predators, the Preds were lucky to
get a point.
Just 30 seconds into overtime, Pekka Rinne made an incredible save to keep the Hawks off the board.
Viktor Stalberg ended the contest with a blast at 2:37 of the overtime period, beating Rinne stick side.
is a game that the Predators will look back upon and realize that they
gave away a point. Kudos to the team for fighting back, but this is
another instance of sloppy play and sitting back on their heels that
cost the Predators a win. Once again, this team failed to seal the deal
in the third period.
There were bright spots for the Predators to be sure. I liked the
way they fought back in this contest, and their work ethic was good.
team is on the cusp of being good- very good. But it will take some
more maturing for this team to get to that level. There are painful
steps in that learning process.
My three stars:
1. Patric Hornqvist
2. Patrick Kane
3. Viktor Stalberg