Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hawks Power Play the Difference in 3-1 Win Over the Predators

When you are facing one of the most potent power play units in the NHL, it is not wise to put them on the ice very often.

The Nashville Predators did just that and were burned for two power play goals by the Chicago Blackhawks in a 3-1 Chicago victory at Bridgestone Arena.

The Predators and goaltender Carter Hutton had their 3  game win streak snapped.

The Hawks scored on their first shot of the game as Duncan Keith fired a shot from the point that got through Hutton on the stick side and trickled over the goal line at 1:29 of the first period.

The Predators answered back at 3:03 of the first on the power play as Shea Weber blasted a puck from the top of the face off circle past Antti Raanta to tie the game at 1.

Patrick Kane made it 2-1 with a beautiful goal, lifting a backhand over the shoulder of Hutton into a tight space in the top corner. The goal came at 16:14 of the first period and with the Hawks on the power play with Colin Wilson in the box for holding.

The Predators had a great first period. They swarmed the net and fired 17 shots on Raanta, who made some good saves to keep the Predators off the board.

Unfortunately, the first period was where the solid effort by the Predators ended.

The Hawks out shot the Predators 8-4 in the second period and got a Nick Leddy power play goal at 11:33 as he banged home a big rebound kicked out to the weak side by Hutton.

That was all the scoring that the Hawks would need as they shut down the Predators for the remainder of the game. The Predators could muster only 7 shots in the third period to 9 for Chicago.

Some observations:

  • The Predators were 1 for 5 on the power play, including 3:23 of power play time because of a double minor for high sticking. The power play was... not good. The Predators had difficulty entering the zone and once in the zone, controlling the puck. The lack of movement by the power play unit makes it easy to defend. Until this unit can improve and become more effective and dangerous, the Predators will continue to struggle.

  • The Predators gave the Hawks 5 power plays, and they capitalized on 2 of them and this was the difference in the game. The Predators were called for too many men on the ice twice, which is hard to understand.

  • The lack of elite puck movers in the forward ranks plagued the Predators on the power play and at even strength as the game wore on. The Hawks were able to thwart the Predators entry into the zone and were able to disrupt the offensive effort in the zone. This continues to be a problem for the Predators against tight checking teams.

  • I may be in the minority, but my view is that David Legwand has become an offensive liability. He lacks creativity with the puck and has become prone to numerous turnovers. He is not hard on the puck and kills the flow of his line.

  • I don't fault Hutton on the two power play goals that he gave up, but he cannot give up that first goal, a puck that went through him for the score. Hutton made some good saves tonight and kept his team in the game, but the soft goal on the first shot seemed to take some steam out of the Predators.
Obviously, the Hawks are a great team. The effort tonight was good, but to be a great team, the effort has to be exceptional.

That was not the case.

The Predators have an opportunity to get back in the win column Thursday night on the road in Tampa Bay.

My three stars:

1. Duncan Keith

2. Patrick Kane

3. Shea Weber

No comments:

Post a Comment