In a cruel twist of fate, the Chicago Blackhawks turned the tables on the Nashville Predators tonight by dominating each section of the ice. The Blackhawks knew they had to win, while the Preds seemed to have no sense of urgency whatsoever.
More thoughts after the jump.
- First, I should probably eat some crow. I said in the game preview the following: 'If there's one thing I've learned, its that while the Predators will get outplayed or outclassed, they'll almost never get outworked.' The Blackhawks came out and played Nashville Predators hockey. Opportunistic scoring, hard work, and suffocating defense. Ow.
- Something has to be done about the power play. I don't know what, but there is an unsolvable problem, apparently. The Preds are now 0-18 with the man advantage in the series; and were unable to score on an extended 5 on 3 tonight.
- Patrick Sharp's first goal (power play) cannot in anyway be placed on Pekka Rinne (who, once again, was fantastic). He saved everything possible until the swarm around the net became too much. The initial shot from Patrick Kane was tipped and Rinne lost the rebound.
- Jonathan Toews' second period goal, however, can be blamed on someone: Kevin Klein. Marian Hossa entered the zone with speed, and Klein laid down to block the pass instead of take the body. Toews corralled the puck and slotted it past a helpless Rinne.
- Scary moment in the middle frame. Kevin Klein was turned towards the boards fishing a loose puck out when Tomas Kopecky rammed him from behind, sending his face right into the rejoinder between the glass and boards. Klein took several minutes to recover, but Kopecky was only given two for boarding. In my opinion (and apparently Barry Trotz's), it should've been a major penalty.
- On the final tally (Sharp), it was a product of simply not caring enough. Sharp blew through three Nashville defenders and put an unmolested shot on goal. I'm not sure what happened to Rinne; but the fact is the shot should've never gotten there.
- Scary moment two: when the game was out of hand and the Predators had two extra attackers, Jordin Tootoo took a puck to the face from a Cody Franson shot. Tootoo headed straight to the dressing room bleeding profusely. Something to monitor, obviously.
- Finally, while I can't call out the crowd considering I wasn't in attendance, the noise level just wasn't there tonight. I suggest you shake it off and find yourself a ticket for Game 6 on Monday.
There you have it. Lackluster, lethargic, whatever you want to call it, it was a poor showing. Here's to shocking a national audience Saturday afternoon.