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Snow on the Beach: Predators 4, Blackhawks 2

Explosions of offense here and there but, otherwise, nothing doing.

Nashville Predators v Chicago Blackhawks
Connor Murphy of the Chicago Blackhawks checks Mikael Granlund of the Nashville Predators
Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

We should talk about this one.

The Chicago Blackhawks lost their eighth straight game on Wednesday, falling 4-2 against the Nashville Predators. The loss brings the Blackhawks’ record for the 2022-23 campaign to 7-20-4, remaining the worst team in the league.

The scoring started about midway through the first period, as Nino Niederreiter went top shelf on Petr Mrazek, a place the Predators aimed at consistently early on.

Luckily, the Blackhawks got back in the game in the second period as Chicago scored two goals within 40 seconds late in the middle frame. The Blackhawks initially got on the board with a deflected shot from Connor Murphy, which double-doinked off of two Predators:

A shift later, MacKenzie Entwistle took a pass from Murphy, who succeeded on a takeaway in the neutral zone. From there, Entwistle entered the offensive zone and shot the puck past Saros to make it a 2-1 game.

The Blackhawks were looking to take that lead into the final period.

They were unsuccessful.

Nashville tied the game 2-2 with a one-timer from Matt Duchene at goal front:

Just 87 seconds into the third period, Roman Josi scored the eventual game-winning goal, putting a backhand top-shelf over Mrazek after skating out from a poor position:

On a power-play opportunity about five minutes later, the Predators won the faceoff, worked the puck around and got a pass to Tommy Novak, who put a shot past Mrazek to make it 4-2.

The Predators held on to their lead and won 4-2.

Notes

  • A few bad goals from Mrazek, as he could have made better plays on the Niederreiter goal and the Tommy Novak goal. However, he received very little help on the Josi goal, despite being down too early, and the Duchene goal could have been defended better. The Blackhawks defensemen and goaltenders continue struggling to support each other.
  • At least it seemed like the Blackhawks were trying more consistently in this game than in prior contests. They even held a lead at one point — albeit a brief point. It would have been nice if the Blackhawks could generate more pressure on a shaky-looking Saros in this game, but with 2.88 expected goals against, its not like they mustered nothing, either.
  • Every once in a while, Connor Murphy comes up with a game that reminds you, oh right, this guy is good. That was the case on Wednesday, with Murphy scoring two points — both primary — and a posting 49.67 percent 5-on-5 expected goal share, second-most among the five Blackhawks defensemen who handled most of the ice time following Jake McCabe’s departure.
  • Isaak Phillips, one of the best defensemen in the AHL this season, was the player to watch on the Blackhawks’ side, as Phillips was playing his first NHL game of the season. Phillips played 17:58 — more than Murphy — but was on the ice for two goals against with a 0.82 expected goals against mark. Phillips also finished with two giveaways and a takeaway and two shots on goal. He’s likely better than he showed Wednesday, but that might be the case for the entire Blackhawks roster.
  • Max Domi is a complicated figure in Chicago. On the negative side Domi’s interference penalty in the third led to Novak’s late insurance goal and Domi had a 22.22 percent faceoff win rate. On the positive side, Domi had the primary assist on Murphy’s goal and the second-best expected goal share on the team (>5 minutes) with a 62.45 percent mark.
  • Also, coach Luke Richardson said in his postgame media session Jake McCabe is expected to be OK after exiting the game following that errant high stick.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Roman Josi (NSH) — GWG, 1 A
  2. Connor Murphy (CHI) — 1 G, 1 A
  3. Nino Niederreiter (NSH) — 1 G, 15:10 TOI

What’s next

The Blackhawks are scheduled to host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday at 7:30 p.m. We’ll see if the snow storm allows for that to happen.