In Friday night’s must-win affair, the Blackhawks were unable to keep their playoff hopes alive, falling 3-1 to the Predators at the United Center.
The first period saw no scoring from either side. Malcom Subban’s pad save on Ryan Johansen kept the score even late in the period.
Johansen was eventually able to get the puck behind Subban when he opened the scoring up in the second period.
Later in the period, Luke Kunin continued his hot play against the Hawks, putting Nashville up 2-0.
While the Blackhawks struggled to light the lamp, Erik Haula put Nashville up 3-1 late in the third period.
A minute later, Vinnie Hinostroza responded with a goal, keeping the Blackhawks from being shutout. Hinostroza played a great game, but ultimately the sole Chicago goal was not enough to take points away from Friday night’s game.
This is usually where the “notes” portion of the recap is found. However, I’m going to leave the Hawks’ faithful with these words: as fans, we were told by the Blackhawks organization that the 2021 season would be a rebuild and the focus would be on the kids. I don’t know if anyone expected the Blackhawks to make the playoffs this season.
However, after a huge comeback in Wednesday’s fire drill of a third period, the Hawks found themselves in a must-win situation in order to keep their playoff hopes alive. If the Hawks miss the playoffs, it will be disappointing but not unexpected. The concern for me is the way in which they lost key games. Between performances, strategy and usage, there's a lot that went wrong. At times, though, we saw flashes of talent from most of the young roster. Some more expected than others. The Blackhawks have been unable to win the big games under Jeremy Colliton. Friday’s loss just got added to that list.
If the Hawks are officially eliminated with games remaining, I hope we can see the young players get ice time and actually put the focus on them, like we were originally told the team would do. The young guys need to play, the team needs guidance and leadership from both their captain (who is greatly missed) and the coaching staff. This was not the recap I was hoping to write tonight. But, alas, it comes with the territory of being a fan wearing a red sweater. While not a total post-mortem, this is going to be the game we all comeback to when reflecting on the 2021 season.
- Juuse Saros (NSH) — 29 saves on 30 shots
- Eeli Tolvanen (NSH) — 1 assist, 70.37 Corsi-for percentage
- Vinnie Hinostroza (CHI) — 1 goal, 70 Corsi-for percentage
The Blackhawks host the Lightning at the United Center on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. puck drop.