The Blackhawks beat the Predators 5-4 in overtime on Wednesday at the United Center for Chicago’s first victory against Nashville this season. The Blackhawks overcame a 4-1 deficit in the third period to secure the win.
The Blackhawks began the scoring as Vinnie Hinostroza’s aggressive forechecking led to a loose puck. Brandon Hagel scooped it and passed the puck to Pius Suter who went five-hole:
Pius Suter received a saucer pass from Brandon Hagel and scored between Juuse Saros' legs.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) April 21, 2021
Brandon Hagel#Blackhawks 1, #Preds 0 pic.twitter.com/l3xVc1dvro
The Predators evened the score 10 minutes later as Eeli Tolvanen — back in Nashville’s lineup — was left alone in front of the Blackhawks net by Riley Stillman.
Soon after that goal, Calvin de Haan left the game after skating just 3:50, as he continues to deal with lingering pain from a prior hip injury. The Blackhawks dressed seven defensemen (with Adam Boqvist and Wyatt Kalynuk returning from injury) on Wednesday.
Early in the second period, Colton Sissons scored on a breakaway to put the Predators up one. Mikael Granlund doubled the lead with just 1.4 seconds left on the clock, sending the teams to the second intermission with the Predators up 3-1.
Luke Kunin, who leads the Predators in points against the Blackhawks this season, scored less than a minute into the third period to make the score 4-1.
Kalynuk answered the four goals from Nashville on a pass from Patrick Kane:
Wyatt Kalynuk cut it to 4-2 when he scored backdoor.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) April 22, 2021
Brandon Hagel#Preds 4, #Blackhawks 2 pic.twitter.com/dGSih9mpam
Hinostroza scored a nice goal 69 seconds later on a pass from Kirby Dach to make it 4-3:
Vinnie Hinostroza tapped in Kirby Dach's pass in front.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) April 22, 2021
Nikita Zadorov#Preds 4, #Blackhawks 3 pic.twitter.com/Od0FoyjmF8
Then, Dominik Kubalik tied the game on a Suter pass from behind the net 102 seconds after Hinostroza’s goal:
Dominik Kubalik tied it 4-4 off Pius Suter's pass behind the net.— Brandon Cain (@brandonmcain) April 22, 2021
Pius Suter#Blackhawks 4, #Preds 4 pic.twitter.com/oCKcJRPe4s
Chicago had all of the momentum and seemed on the verge of re-taking the lead when Alex DeBrincat drew a double minor from Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson just after Kubalik’s goal. But the Blackhawks were unable to score during that double minor to Arvidsson, as the two penalties passed without an interrupting whistle.
But Chicago secured a crucial second point in overtime when Hagel scored his second OT goal this season to secure the Blackhawks 5-4 victory.
- The Blackhawks have killed 16 of 17 penalties against the Predators this season. The penalty kill had a relatively easy night on Wednesday, playing just four minutes against Nashville, but the Blackhawks allowed just one shot and 0.04 expected goals in those four minutes. Chicago taking away any chances from Nashville’s man advantage was a factor in the victory.
- It was a rough night for the Blackhawks’ Connor Murphy, who was on ice for all four goals against. Murphy was on the ice for 1.02 expected goals against at 5-on-5 and six high-danger chances and could have played better defense throughout.
- The Predators are fans of removing helmets apparently, as Yakov Trenin removed Murphy’s before the fourth goal (in a move that looked like it had at least some intention) and Kirby Dach’s was removed in a scrum. In the time of concussions, that should be a penalty more than a puck over the glass.
- Malcolm Subban made 36 saves on 40 shots, including 13 high-danger saves on 16 shots. Subban could be the starter again Friday against Nashville, as he kept the Blackhawks alive until the third-period onslaught.
- The Blackhawks didn’t stick with any one forward line throughout this game, as none played more than 2:13 and eight played at least one minute together at 5-on-5. That’s likely going to happen when Chicago goes with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, but it’s still outside the norm. The best line in terms of expected goals was Dach, Kubalik and Hagel, which generated 0.17 expected goals to 0.06 against in 1:42.
- Dach deserves a shoutout for his game on Wednesday. Dach was on the ice for the second-highest expected goals (0.69) on the team at 5-on-5, and was one of seven players (but really six, as de Haan is also one) not to allow a goal. With Dach on the ice at 5-on-5 the Blackhawks outshot the Predators 10-5 and generated four high-danger chances to just one against. Dach finished the game with a primary assist on Hinostroza’s goal as well.
- Following that game, Nashville now has 52 points in 48 games and sits in fourth place in the Central Division. Dallas is next with 50 points in 45 games, while Chicago is still alive but trailing those two teams with 49 points in 47 games. The Blackhawks desperately need a regulation win over Nashville on Friday.
- Brandon Hagel (CHI) — 1 goal, 2 assists, game-winning goal
- Vinnie Hinostroza (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist
- Mikael Granlund (NSH) — 1 goal, 1 assist
The Blackhawks finish the season series against the Predators at 7 p.m. on Friday at the United Center.