Saturday, December 6, 2014

Predators Fall to the Blackhawks 3-1

The Nashville Predators relinquished first place in the Central Division by dropping a 3-1 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks at the Bridgestone Arena.

The Hawks took a 2-0 lead into the third period off goals by Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa before Colin Wilson answered just 34 seconds into the third  with a wicked wrist shot that beat Scott Darling.

The Hawks cemented their first regulation win of the season over the Predators with a Hossa empty net goal.

Some observations:

  • I can't fault Predators netminder Pekka Rinne for either of the goals that he gave up. Saad's goal looked to hit the stick of defenseman Roman Josi and the shot whistled over his shoulder. The second goal to Hossa was caused by Colin Wilson being late to get back into defensive coverage. Rinne gave up a rebound and Hossa had an open net into which to shoot the puck.
  • The Predators puck support in the offensive zone was just about as bad as I have seen it all season. Often, a puck carrier was out manned and had no one coming to support. This stymied the offense all night.
  • This was the Hawks first regulation win over the Predators in three meetings this season.
  • The Predators were once again weak in the face off dot, especially in the offensive zone. The Predators won 44% of their faceoffs and often lost them in the offensive zone allowing the hawks to get the puck down ice and short circuiting any Predators offensive threat. Mike fisher won 15 of 29 faceoffs for 52%. Mike Ribeiro was 8 of 19 (42%); Matt Cullen was 2 of 6 (33%); Calle Jarnkrok was 1 of 6 (17%); Olli Jokinen was 3 of 4 (75%); and Colin Wilson was 1 of 3 (33%). this is an area that has been weak all season and needs to improve.
  • Colin Wilson continues his strong play. He had probably the best jump of any of the Predators forwards and made it a game with his goal early in the third period. Wilson has 8 points (5G-3A) in 10 games since returning from an injury on November 13.
  • The Predators previous 7 games had been decided by one goal. This is the first game to be decided by more than one goal since the Predators defeated the maple Leafs 9-2.
  • To the Predators fans that sold their tickets to Blackhawk fans- shame on you. I know that you made a lot of money for your ticket, but this is our barn and you allowed drunken bandwagon fans of a division rival to occupy our barn. I have no words- at least no words that I can print- for you.
Frankly, the boys got outplayed from start to finish in this one. The Hawks are a very good team and we needed to bring our best tonight to defeat them.

We didn't.

So now we begin a road trip that takes us out west for some winnable games.

Time to get back to business.

My three stars:

1. Scott Darling

2. Marian Hossa

3. Colin Wilson

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