Lukewarm Vengeance

Patrick Kane skates against fellow American Seth Jones. - Frederick Breedon

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Tuesday Night.

Well, that’s more like it.  After having to go to the brain bleach due to the last game versus the Nashville Predators, the Blackhawks made this game, or at least the result, much more enjoyable.  The game itself was not of the style with which Blackhawks fans have grown accustomed.  We’re used to an exciting transition game with extended offensive zone time wherein the Blackhawks bat the opposing team’s players around like cats do to mice in order to draw out the torture before finally going in for the kill.  Tonight, the Predators did a nice job thwarting the transition game of the Blackhawks by keeping the neutral zone full of their players.  When one forward would make it through with the puck and actually get a shot off, his linemates were still stuck entering the zone and thus there were few rebound opportunities to be had.

At least during the first and second periods, the third line of Bickell, Shaw and Saad looked strong.  They had the most noticeably clean zone entries even if they were not able to find the back of the net.  It was nice to have Bickell back out on the ice even if he does need a little time to get back into the swing of things.  Look for that line to dominate their opponents in the near future.  Their possession numbers from this evening were rivaled only by the first line.

The game started off wonderfully with Duncan Keith scoring just over a minute in, but of course, as soon as Marcus Kruger was wrung up for a face off violation, the Penalty Kill took a bullet in the form of a Shea Weber slapshot that got past Antti Raanta. Kruger did some work to redeem himself by winning a face off in the defensive zone that led to the puck being cleared on the next PK when Leddy was sent off on a very iffy interference call.  Speaking of iffy calls…let’s all do our best to remember that rookie officials make mistakes just like rookie players.  It’s not fun to be on the receiving end of those calls, but at least the waved off goal was counted as a good goal upon review.

The Blackhawks Power Play late in the first period only featured one shot attempt.  Luckily, that was all that was necessary for Patrick Kane to tally his 20th goal of the season.  The Blackhawks had another PP at the beginning of the second period that was interesting to say the least.  There were five shot attempts on that PP, all of which came from defensemen.  While the defensemen, most notably Nick Leddy, were down low taking the shots, the snipers of those PP units were up manning the point.  This may not be the most effective use of talent on the PP.  Hopefully this was just a matter of happenstance as opposed to an actual game plan.  Leddy did come through at even strength shortly thereafter with a snapshot from about 16 feet out to put the Blackhawks up 3-1.

Overall, games between the Blackhawks and Predators are usually not very exciting and this one lived up to that reputation.  It was a good win for the team since they were out shot for the majority of the game.

· Please take the time to sit back and marvel at the wonder that is Patrick Kane.  He is capable of doing things that no one else in the league can do.  I often wonder if we take for granted how amazing it is to have a player like that on our team.  Personally, I will probably watch that highlight at least 10 more times after finishing this recap.

· Antti Raanta looked strong in his net tonight.  He seems to be making fewer glaring mistakes and keeping his net a little better.  His glove save on Weber’s slapshot in the first period was particularly nice.

· Everyone loves to bag on Brent Seabrook probably because when he actually makes a mistake, it is a big deal.  Yes, he took a bad penalty near the end of the game, but he also blocked 4 shots and had an assist on Leddy’s goal. He leads the team in hits, is always near the top in ice time, is second in blocked shots and has 21 assists on the season.  21 assists…that’s one more than Jonathan Toews has on the season.

Blackhawks Possession Stats

PLAYERS

Pos

ES TOI

CF% 5v5

CF%Rel

5v5

CF% 5v5 Close

CF%Rel

5v5 Close

O/D

st%

BICKELL, Bryan

L

9:40

50.0

4.3

28.6

-5.9

100.0

BOLLIG, Brandon

L

6:04

23.1

-30.3

11.1

-29.6

0.0

BROOKBANK, Sheldon

D

10:40

38.9

-11.1

18.2

-21.8

66.7

HANDZUS, Michal

C

8:52

30.0

-20.0

28.6

-5.9

71.4

HJALMARSSON,Niklas

D

14:52

41.2

-7.6

22.2

-14.8

41.7

HOSSA, Marian

R

14:12

61.9

24.1

42.9

15.6

57.1

KANE, Patrick

R

11:55

37.5

-12.5

30.0

-4.6

71.4

KEITH, Duncan

D

16:24

50.0

5.9

44.4

22.2

61.5

KRUGER, Marcus

C

6:44

7.1

-51.9

10.0

-32.3

16.7

LEDDY, Nick

D

10:31

50.0

4.5

16.7

-20.0

66.7

ODUYA, Johnny

D

13:47

40.0

-10.0

25.0

-12.5

50.0

SAAD, Brandon

L

9:40

70.0

28.3

75.0

46.9

83.3

SEABROOK, Brent

D

15:01

56.5

16.5

50.0

30.0

77.8

SHARP, Patrick

R

12:37

60.0

20.5

46.2

20.1

80.0

SHAW, Andrew

C

10:29

77.8

37.0

66.7

36.4

83.3

SMITH, Ben

R

6:19

23.1

-30.3

11.1

-29.6

0.0

TOEWS, Jonathan

C

14:41

58.3

20.1

40.0

11.4

57.1

VERSTEEG, Kris

R

9:27

50.0

4.3

42.9

11.8

50.0

*I’ll have to check, but I don’t recall the 4th line having this poor of a possession night this season.

Predators Possession Stats

Players

Pos

ES TOI

CF% 5v5

CF%Rel

5v5

CF% 5v5

Close

CF%Rel

5v5 Close

O/D

st%

CLUNE, Rich

L

5:51

46.2

-9.4

50.0

-23.1

0.0

CULLEN, Matt

C

10:44

76.9

30.3

90.0

32.3

50.0

FISHER, Mike

C

11:19

47.1

-9.0

61.5

-8.0

50.0

GAUSTAD, Paul

C

8:52

43.8

-13.4

44.4

-29.6

25.0

HENDRICKS, Matt

C

6:24

30.8

-29.2

33.3

-40.0

0.0

HORNQVIST, Patric

R

12:20

56.3

3.9

85.7

23.6

22.2

LEGWAND, David

C

12:06

46.2

-9.4

75.0

9.4

22.2

NYSTROM, Eric

L

13:17

45.0

-12.9

58.3

-12.5

66.7

SMITH, Craig

C

11:07

73.3

26.8

83.3

25.0

57.1

SPALING, Nick

C

11:19

50.0

-4.2

66.7

0.0

22.2

STALBERG, Viktor

L

10:32

53.3

-0.2

54.5

-17.5

50.0

WILSON, Colin

C

8:05

76.9

30.3

90.9

34.9

100.0

BARTLEY, Victor

D

13:30

36.4

-21.1

50.0

-20.0

50.0

ELLIS, Ryan

D

12:10

70.0

25.3

76.9

16.1

62.5

JONES,  Seth

D

11:56

60.9

12.3

76.9

16.1

71.4

JOSI, Roman

D

16:03

50.0

-6.3

61.1

-11.1

12.5

KLEIN, Kevin

D

11:53

55.6

2.5

60.0

-7.7

50.0

WEBER, Shea

D

15:00

44.4

-16.8

64.7

-3.7

12.5


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