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Desert Rambler: Predators 5, Blackhawks 1

Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t quite the disaster that unfolded on Wednesday night, but the Blackhawks were still on the wrong side of a lopsided scoreboard against a Central Division foe on Friday night at the United Center after a 5-1 loss to the Nashville Predators.

Filip Forsberg was responsible for much of the damage in this game, starting about six minutes into the game when this shot from distance found its way into the Chicago goal thanks to a well-placed body in front of the net:

Just before the first period ended, Kiefer Sherwood corralled a loose puck after a mad scramble in front and buried it to double Nashville’s lead:

Forsberg scored again about five minutes into the second period, swiping at a puck that Philipp Kurashev briefly controlled:

It became a 4-0 Nashville lead about four minutes later on this power-play tally from Jason Zucker:

Chicago got one back late in the second during a 5-on-3, when Kurashev uncorked this absolute rocket of a one-timer:

But any thoughts of a comeback fizzled out when Forsberg completed the hat trick 97 seconds into the third period with the Predators’ third PPG of the evening:

And that was that.


  • Let’s start by talking about Ethan Del Mastro, because he seemed to have a strong NHL debut. He’s noticeably atop the stat card below, which suggests he contributed more than anyone else in red this evening. He skated 17:49 at 5-on-5, and the Blackhawks were in the positive of every category with him on the ice: 20-16 in shot attempts, 12-9 in shots on goal, 12-10 in scoring chances and 7-2 in high-danger chances, all adding up to a 66.39 percent expected goal share that was tops on the team. And all that happened despite he and Connor Murphy starting in the offensive zone just 28.57 percent of the time, which was the lowest mark on the team. Yeah, we’ll take that. One observation from this vantage point is that it seemed like Del Mastro was a bit robotic in some of his puck handling on the defensive side of things and he’ll want to be more fluid when facing teams with a more ferocious forecheck. But that’s a very small quibble from an otherwise quite solid NHL debut.
  • At the other end of that player card below is Kevin Korchinski, who did not have his best night. He was on the ice for two goals, and he could’ve prevented both. On the first one, he initially had good, strong positioning inside of Sherwood but got caught watching the puck and Sherwood broke free to score the goal. On the second, it’s probably best if he just punches that puck to either board instead of dropping it to his stick and playing it. On either occasion, teammates could’ve helped him out as well. But dwelling so much on defensive miscues misses the plot a bit because Korchinski will likely always have them somewhere — he’s not supposed to be a shutdown blue-liner. What made him a top-10 pick is his ability to be dynamic on the offensive side of the ice, and the hope is that part of his game shines more in future seasons so that the occasional defensive gaffe can be tolerated.
  • That is one thing to watch for the next few seasons, too: the development of Alex Vlasic this season has been impressive to watch. But can this coaching cultivate the skills of a defenseman who’s more offensively oriented just as well as they have with the more defense-oriented Vlasic?
  • There’s more time and space on a 5-on-3 than he’ll get in most other situations, but not sure Kurashev has ever one-timed a puck harder than the one he did for that goal. What a missile.
  • Was a nice touch to have Slaggert, Bedard, Korchinski and Vlasic together on the ice for a shift during that 4-on-4 in the final minute. Wouldn’t mind seeing more youth being served over the final three games of this season and into next season, too.
  • Only three left, folks. Then, hopefully, there are much brighter days ahead.
  • Need some company for your misery in watching the Blackhawks this Sunday? Come join us at Marz Brewing, because no one should be watching this side alone.

Game Charts

Three Stars

  1. Filip Forsberg (NSH) — Hat trick
  2. Luke Evangelista (NSH) — 2 assists
  3. Kevin Lankinen (NSH) — 25 saves on 26 shots

What’s Next

The Blackhawks final home game of the season is on Sunday against the Carolina Hurricanes at 5 p.m.