NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Well, that all ended poorly, didn’t it? For the Blackhawks, anyway. The Predators have given the Blackhawks several opportunities to see they mean business this postseason, that they’re not going away quietly, even if they’re trailing in a game. The Blackhawks haven’t heeded those lessons, and now they’re on the brink of elimination.
We hate to bring the dark clouds but let’s face it, the situation calls for them. Anyway, while we ponder whether to mix the Jack Daniels we got in the media gift bags or drink it straight, let’s look at the notables from the Predators’ 3-2 overtime victory over the Blackhawks.
What worked: Corey Crawford. We’ll say this for the Blackhawks: they blocked 30 shots in front of their goaltender, a very nice number, indeed. But Crawford was nevertheless busy, stopping 46 of 49 shots. His stop on Kevin Fiala in overtime kept the Blackhawks in it. Unfortunately, they weren’t doing much on the other end. It was a great performance wasted.
What Didn’t Work: The Blackhawks’ third period. They finally got goals, finally got a lead, and then they went into the prevent defense. We all know this never works, regardless of sport. Patrick Kane cited it as the reason the Blackhawks didn’t win this one. Tough to argue. Sure, the Predators’ goals were wonky, maybe you could kind of/sort of argue the second one – although even coach Joel Quenneville made it sound like he challenged just to see what would happen. But the Blackhawks’ inability to keep pushing the pace was costly.
Star of the game: Kevin Fiala. We could’ve thrown Crawford in here but since we touched on him above, let’s go with Fiala. The forward actually had three chances to end this one in overtime. His first attempt, off a Blackhawks turnover, sailed high. His second was thwarted by a great Crawford stop. He didn’t miss on the third. Give the guy credit: he didn’t freeze after two failures and was rewarded.
He Said It: “It’s pretty disappointing to give up three games the way we have. But we’ll have to take the good from this game and improve upon it and be even better in the next one. Obviously there’s still life. We’ve said this a lot already — we’ve been here before in the past, being down three games to none to make it all the way back to Game 7 and lose in overtime [against Vancouver]. We know it’s possible. Like we were saying going into tonight, we just gotta win the next one. Obviously every game you got to ratchet it up. You gotta find a way to find a new level. That’s what we have to focus on for the next one.” Jonathan Toews after the Blackhawks fell to 0-3 in this series.
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By the Numbers:
10:55 – Amount of time the Blackhawks went without a shot in the first period (Marcus Kruger at 8:09 and then Artemi Panarin at 19:04).
177:45 – Time, in minutes and seconds, of the Blackhawks’ postseason scoreless streak. Dennis Rasmussen ended it with his first career postseason goal, at 1:05 of the second period.
141:05 – Pekka Rinne’s shutout streak in this series, which ended with Rasmussen’s goal.
50 – Career postseason goals for Patrick Kane, who recorded his in the second period (power-play goal) on Monday. It was also Kane’s first postseason goal since Game 5 against the St. Louis Blues last spring.
30 – Shots blocked by the Blackhawks on Monday. Brian Campbell led with six.
9 – Shots on goal for Patrick Kane, the most of anyone in Game 3.