Observations From Section 321 : Turnabout Is Fair Play

The Blackhawks cap off a weekend sweep of the Nashville Predators with a come from behind 5-3 win.

It sure was nice to be on the other side of a 3rd period comeback for a change, wasn't it? The Blackhawks punched their ticket into the Stanley Cup playoffs with three 3rd period goals. Sunday's night game was certainly more entertaining than the snooze fest between these two teams on Saturday afternoon.

The Blackhawks started the scoring with Andrew Shaw's 8th goal of the year at 6:34 of the opening period. Shaw fired a shot from the right circle that Pekka Rinne kicked aside to the left hand circle. The puck found Michael Frolik who fired a one timer towards the net. Shaw never stopped skating and headed right to the front of the net where he was able to redirect Tater's shot into the net. The Preds were able to tie the game at 17:16 after a horrible Johnny Oduya turnover. Oduya pretty much just handed the puck off to Sergei Kostitsyn right in between the faceoff circles. Nick Spaling was able to sneak behind the defenders and tap in Kostitsyn's rebound with Ray Emery way out of position.

Bryan Bickell continued his dominance of Nashville and Rinne with his 8th goal of the season at 2:09 of the 2nd period. The play started with a bad Predators turnover leaving the Hawks zone. Michal Rozsival jumped on the loose puck and quickly got it to Viktor Stalberg, who poked it ahead of Kevin Kline. Bickell was able to beat both defensemen into the zone sniped a nasty wrist shot into the net. The Preds didn't take long to tie the game as Shea Weber one timed a slap shot, off a Spaling faceoff win, past Emery at 5:46.

It was Nashville who took control of the momentum early in the 3rd period as they broke the 2-2 tie at 6:54. Nick Leddy had a rare defensive break down as he had the puck taken away from him behind the net after a Weber wrist shot. This caused a mad scramble in front of the net and David Legwand was able to tap in the rebound. This was the type of goal that has been haunting the Blackhawks, especially in the 3rd period of late.

Legwand's goal seemed to light a fire under the Hawks and Q went to his line blender for a well needed spark. Patrick Kane was moved up to the top line and Marian Hossa was moved to the "punishment" line with Marcus Kruger and Daniel Carcillo. This change to the top line produced two goals just 55 seconds apart with the game tying goal coming at 9:37. From behind the Preds net, Jonathan Toews found Brandon Saad streaking towards the net. Rinne made the initial save but Saad had enough time and space to slip the rebound by for his 9th goal of the year. Duncan Keith picked up his 20th assist of the year on the play as well. This line's very next shift broke the tie with Tazer's 19th of the season. A forechecking Patrick Kane beat 2 Predators defenders to the puck behind the the Nashville net. No, that is not a typo, it really happened. Kane then found a wide open Toews who buried a slap shot past Pekka Rinne. Kaner recaptured the team lead in goals, at 20 when he added an empty netter in the final seconds to seal the victory.

*First and foremost, a HUGE stick tap to the Blackhawks organization for their pregame ceremony with Make A Wish. As someone who has seen cancer steal a loved one away from me, seeing those brave kids on the ice hit home. I had to wipe a couple of tears away during the anthem. It's moments like these that make me so proud to be fan of this amazing organization. The new regime really knows how to do it right.

* Ray Emery was ok in net last night, giving up 3 goals on just 22 shots is not spectacular. I still can't figure out where he was going on the first Nashville goal. He could have had the second goal too. He wasn't screened and the puck was not redirected. It's not like Shea Weber hasn't made a career out of scoring off of faceoff wins. Razor looked like he wasn't even prepared for a shot. Not sure where Q is going with his two goalies but I do not like the idea of a platoon in the playoffs. Both goalies have been very good overall this year, but I still think Crow needs to be given the keys to the car.

* Speaking of Q, I really like the combination of DDN and the Saadfather. That is a very dynamic and dangerous line to throw out at opposing defenses. It's going to be very interesting to see what happens to the lines when Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland come back. As many of us of stated ad nauseam, hopefully Bolland is put back to the 3rd line where he can excel. Q will have many options, and with a top 2 seed pretty much wrapped up, he is left with 10 games to experiment and find the right combos for the post season.

* Now is a pretty good time to check for tee times at Nashville area golf courses in early May. Who knew that the loss of Ryan Suter would turn one of the best defensive cores in the league into such a hot mess? Their blueliners were directly responsible of 3 of the Hawks goals last night. Roman Josi got caught puck watching with his stick off the ice on Shaw's goal. Kevin Kline and Victor Bartley looked like the Keystone Cops on Bickell's goal. I'm sorry but, for Hal Gill and Jeff Blum to allow Kane to just take the puck away without a challenge, on the game winning goal, is just unacceptable. Getting 40 shots on goal on the Predators used to be unheard of, but the Hawks were able to do it last night. I guess I expected more from a team who is fighting for the playoff lives. A fight that is now pretty much over.

* Is anyone else excited about Michal Handzus' net presence on the PP? His big body in front of the goalie could be very good come playoff time.

* I was very happy to see the 4th line get the first goal of the game. They flat out deserved to get a tally the way they came out on their first shift of the game. Shaw still has to learn how to keep his yap shut, there was no need for the unsportsmanlike penalty he took right after Weber tied the game.

* It's kind of funny that the only 2 Hawks with a negative Corsi were Saad and Toews. Not a single Predator player was a plus in the Corsi, but that should not be a surprise.

Blackhawks Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Duncan Keith D 21:11 22 11 +11 0 +11
Niklas Hjalmarsson D 21:04 22 10 +12 0 +12
Brent Seabrook D 17:51 17 15 +2 +1 +2
Nick Leddy D 18:06 16 14 +2 +1 +2
Daniel Carcillo L 12:55 12 8 +4 +3 +3
Marcus Kruger C 14:56 14 8 +6 -1 +6
Jonathan Toews C 18:31 16 17 -1 0 -1
Brandon Saad L 18:11 15 17 -2 -1 -2
Viktor Stalberg L 12:11 15 6 +9 -1 +9
Michal Handzus C 11:55 12 6 +6 -5 +8
Johnny Oduya D 16:48 23 9 +14 -2 +15
Bryan Bickell L 11:25 14 4 +10 -2 +11
Michal Rozsival D 17:10 22 9 +13 -2 +14
Brandon Bollig L 11:23 17 3 +14 +2 +13
Andrew Shaw C 13:19 19 5 +14 0 +14
Michael Frolik R 11:17 17 3 +14 +2 +13
Marian Hossa R 16:19 15 12 +3 0 +3
Patrick Kane R 15:53 17 13 +4 0 +4

Predators Corsi numbers

Player Pos ES TOI Total Shots For Total Shots Against Corsi Net Zone Starts Adjusted Corsi
Shea Weber D 21:57 18 22 -4 +1 -4
Jonathon Blum D 12:47 4 22 -18 0 -18
Kevin Klein D 22:49 11 16 -5 0 -5
David Legwand C 18:48 15 17 -2 0 -2
Nick Spaling C 16:44 9 18 -9 -2 -8
Craig Smith C 12:36 9 14 -5 +1 -5
Rich Clune L 13:04 8 14 -6 +2 -7
Chris Mueller C 10:33 5 15 -10 -1 -10
Brandon Yip R 4:41 2 8 -6 0 -6
Bobby Butler R 9:44 3 14 -11 +1 -11
Matt Halischuk R 15:57 9 20 -11 -1 -11
Patric Hornqvist R 18:10 13 13 0 +1 -0
Austin Watson L 11:55 6 15 -9 +2 -10
Taylor Beck L 18:25 13 14 -1 +1 -1
Roman Josi D 21:03 16 22 -6 +1 -6
Victor Bartley D 21:45 15 18 -3 0 -3
Sergei Kostitsyn L 18:13 11 22 -11 -1 -11
Hal Gill D 11:49 4 22 -18 0 -18