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Waste A Moment: Predators 4, Blackhawks 3

Well, the Blackhawks are back to losing.

NHL: APR 16 Blackhawks at Predators Photo by Danny Murphy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Blackhawks were back on the losing side of things after being defeated 4-3 by the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon.

The Predators opened the scoring just 3:22 into the first period. After a beautiful cross-ice breakout pass from Cody Glass, Philip Tomasino teed up a Eeli Tolvanen one-timer that was blasted past Kevin Lankinen to make it 1-0 Predators.

The Blackhawks tied it about four minutes later with Patrick Kane’s 25th goal of the season. While on a 2-on-1 with Dylan Strome, Kane picked his corner and beat Juuse Saros clean. Like the Predators goal before it, the goal was made possible with another great breakout pass — this time from Alex DeBrincat.

The Blackhawks went up 2-1 at the 5:15 mark of the second period after Jake McCabe’s cross-ice pass found Dominik Kubalik near the right post for an open-net, tap-in goal. Credit to Lukas Reichel, who did his best Kane impression to start that play: he entered the zone alone, curled along the boards to buy time, and then found the trailing McCabe to create the scoring chance.

The Blackhawks lead lasted just 43 seconds, though, as Norris Trophy candidate Roman Josi tied the game at two. During 4-on-4 play, Josi skated the puck in, dropped it back for Ryan Johansen, and then went to the opposite side of the net where he ultimately tapped in the puck after a royal road feed from Johansen.

Johansen thought he scored again just a few minutes later, but Matt Duchene was clearly offsides and the goal was overturned after the Blackhawks challenged.

With just 26 seconds remaining in the second period, the Predators took a 3-2 lead on a power play goal from Duchene. After a big scramble in front of the net where Lankinen made a couple of saves, Mikael Granlund eventually found Duchene out front who buried the puck into the net.

The Predators doubled their lead 3:14 into the third period as Granlund tipped a long blast from Mattias Ekholm in for a goal. DeBrincat originally broke up a passing play, but the puck took an unfortunate bounce right to Ekholm and then Granlund snuck in behind Jake McCabe.

The Blackhawks got one back with 5:29 remaining when Riley Stillman deflected in a shot after a beautiful pass from Kane that was threaded through traffic.

But that’s as close as the Blackhawks came to a comeback, falling 4-3 to the Predators.

Notes

  • Despite being tied after the first period, the Blackhawks had a poor showing in the opening 20 minutes. They were out-attempted 21-12 and out chanced 11-1 despite having six minutes of power-play time in comparison to the Predators two. As has been stated many times, the Blackhawks just don’t play in any way that creates sustainable puck possession under Derek King. Just imagine what a DeBrincat, Strome, and Kane line — and most of the other players — could do under a legitimate NHL quality coach.
  • The Blackhawks power play has not been good for most of the season, but they have been absolutely brutal during 5-on-3s or four-minute PPs. I’d say credit to the Predators for that four-minute penalty kill in the first. But, realistically, the Blackhawks are just terrible on the man-advantage when given too much space or time.
  • This was amusing, not going to lie.
  • Today was not Seth Jones’ day. He had trouble with coverage and clearing the zone often — and he’s usually one of the few on defense that does the latter well. It wasn’t really the day for many on defense, but this was a lower quality game from S. Jones than usual, who has been good for a majority of the season in his No. 1 role on defense.
  • Vlasic and Regula were two bright spots, for the most part, on defense. It’s a small sample, but Vlasic has been using his body well in regaining puck possession and/or disrupting opponents cycles while Regula’s stickwork and ability to activate offensively is obvious. Both also have had miscues — and Regula in particular has to work out how to stay out of the penalty box — but that’s to be expected of 20 and 21-year-old rookie d-men during the learning process.
  • Good on Stillman and Kubalik for scoring. The former broke a 23-game goal drought with his goal and the latter had one of his most offensively active games of the season. Both have had very flawed seasons so far, so a little bit of positivity here at the end is nice.
  • Reichel getting his first NHL point feels like a long time coming even though this was only his 10th NHL game. And it was the type of play that showcases why secondary assists can be huge: the zone entry, the slow down, and the location of the trailing teammate was — as stated above — almost classic Kane. Hopefully we’ll see lots more of those types of skillful, patient plays from Reichel in the years to come.
  • The best period for the Blackhawks was in the third but that’s score effects for you. Appreciate that they didn’t go down without a fight, but it’d be better if the Blackhawks could have more than a single period of decent play. But that’s been the theme of this whole season, hasn’t it?

Game Charts

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Three stars

  1. Mikael Granlund (NSH) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  2. Roman Josi (NSH) — 1 goal, 26:21 TOI
  3. Patrick Kane (CHI) — 1 goal, 1 assist

What’s next

The Chicago Blackhawks are back at the United Center to take on the Calgary Flames on Monday at 8 p.m.