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Predators’ fast start dooms Blackhawks in 5-2 loss

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A 3-0 deficit after one period was too much for Chicago to overcome.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

In another important game against a Central Division opponent, the Blackhawks couldn’t find a way to win.

After falling behind 3-0 after one period, the Blackhawks made it interesting before a pair of empty-net goals gave the Predators a 5-2 win on Thursday at United Center.

How it happened

First, Viktor Arvidsson picked up one of the easiest goals his career when Roman Josi dangled through multiple checks and flipped a backhand shot that bounced off Arvidsson on its way into the net.

Then Colin Blackwell scored ...

And then Matt Duchene scored ...

And the Blackhawks entered the first intermission trailing 3-0.

Chicago didn’t go away quietly, though. In the second period, Dominik Kubalik — who was one of the Blackhawks most noticeable players all game — put the Hawks on the board at the 6:43 mark of the second period with this snipe:

Then, in the third period, the Blackhawks went on a power play against one of the league’s worst penalty kills and — in a rather stunning turn of events — converted! Alex DeBrincat’s nifty stickwork in the slot opened up half the net for a backhand goal.

Despite owning the play for much of the third period, though, the Blackhawks could not find the equalizer. Nick Bonino scored one empty-net goal and then Rinne — from behind his own net — added a second for the final goal of the game.

Once again, in another crucial game — facing a divisional opponent that’s one point ahead in the standings, one of the three teams that the Blackhawks need to leap if they’re going to steal a playoff spot — the Blackhawks come up short. It’s been the same story for the last few seasons: whenever the Blackhawks need a vital win, they don’t get it.

Game Charts

Puck possession game flow (5-on-5)
Natural Stat Trick
Shot heat map (All situations)
Natural Stat Trick

Three Stars

  1. Pekka Rinne (NSH) — 31 saves, 1 G
  2. Roman Josi (NSH) — 1 A, 3 SOG
  3. Dominik Kubalik (CHI) — 1 G

What’s next?

The Blackhawks end their four-game homestand against the Ducks on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. from the United Center.