Despite facing a tired and depleted team, the Blackhawks barely put up any fight and fell 3-2 in overtime to the Nashville Predators.
But, hey, at least they got a point?
Thomas Novak scored his first NHL goal and put the Predators up 1-0 while on the power play with 8:04 left in the opening period. It was a decent shot, but Marc Andre Fleury probably wants that one back.
Kirby Dach answered for the Blackhawks about two minutes later to tie the game 1-1. MacKenzie Entwistle won the puck in a battle behind the net to feed Dach out in front, who scored from a bad angle.
Just what the Dach-tor ordered pic.twitter.com/ZoU9mfFLq0— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 18, 2021
The second period was ... not good, but the Blackhawks luckily came out of it still tied at one with the Predators.
Pat Foley uses the phrase "reluctant dump" which is a decent way to describe this entire period from the Hawks— Second City Hockey (@2ndCityHockey) December 18, 2021
The Predators regained the lead with 8:27 left in the third period. A beautiful cross-ice pass from Filip Forsberg found Colton Sissons at the other faceoff dot where he managed to get it past a diving Fleury.
The Blackhawks once again responded in just a few minutes to re-tie the game, this time at 2-2. Jonathan Toews started the play by winning an offensive zone faceoff and then finished it by burying a cross-ice pass from Riley Stillman seconds later.
TOEWS TIES IT UP ‼️ pic.twitter.com/MX977Lc4Cp— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) December 18, 2021
Unfortunately, Tanner Jeannot — another fake name if I ever heard one — scored in overtime after a rush play with Roman Josi, and the Blackhawks fall 3-2 to the Predators.
- The Blackhawks only managed 19 shots on goal and five high danger chances — including zero in the last 40 minutes at 5-on-5 — against a tired team with a depleted lineup. That’s just not good enough for a team starving for consistent offense. Yeah, they managed to score nine goals against a goalie who hadn’t played in months and a below league-average goalie. But the Blackhawks barely tested Saros tonight, and he had a .895 save-percentage for fuck’s sake. Tonight feels more indicative of their offense than the previous two games, let’s be honest.
- Strome led all players on both teams in expected goals and not a single other Blackhawk would have been in the top 5. The Blackhawks need to shoot more in general but also to take better shots. Only about 44-percent of their shot attempts were on goal tonight and 67 percent of the shots that didn’t get on net were blocked. They already led the league in shot attempts blocked, so they need to step it up already.
- After winning their first five with Derek King behind the bench, the Blackhawks have been the definition of inconsistent for their last 13 games, trading wins and losses every other game. This is what we — meaning the SCH staff — meant when we said said scoring so little is not sustainable recipe for winning.
- Special teams have been more of a hindrance than help this past month. The power play issues have been happening for a while — excluding the three goals in the Caps game — but the penalty kill has been going down the toilet fast. The Blackhawks have allowed seven goals against during fourteen shorthanded instances in their last five games.
- There’s absolutely no point in playing a guy — this case, Kurtis Gabriel — only 5:24. Stop it.
- On the bright side, it’s great to see two players in particular notching some points while playing well lately: Dach has three points (1 G, 1 A) in his last two games and Toews is on a four-game points streak (3 G, 1 A). Getting all their top guns going at once is ideal.
- Entwistle and Kurashev also had strong games tonight, especially on the forecheck. Kurashev was rewarded last game and Entwistle was tonight. Keep playing the kids.
- S. Jones was the only defensemen who had a noticeably good game tonight. Stillman had some bursts — like on Toews’ goal — but the rest were just kind of there, not doing much of anything.
- Fleury likely wants that first goal back, but he was pretty great the rest of the game. There was a snazzy glove save in the second that was really impressive.
- Kane was hit in the face in overtime, but King said postgame he was pretty sure Kane was fine. Fingers crossed that’s accurate.
- Ultimately, this wasn’t a good game for the Blackhawks and they’re lucky they got a point from it. They know what they have to work on, so it’s really just focusing on those main points moving forward. The Blackhawks have shown more at times this season and now it’s time to prove it consistently.
- Tanner Jeannot (NSH) — 1 goal, GWG
- Filip Forsberg (NSH) — 1 assist
- Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 1 goal
The Blackhawks travel to Texas to face the Dallas Stars on Saturday for a 7 p.m. start.