Nashville Predators falter late in 6-3 loss at Chicago; Francis Bouillon injured

The Nashville Predators started off tonight's game in Chicago on the right track, scoring twice on the power play and seizing a 2-1 lead in the first period. Heading into the third, the teams were tied 2-2, and the game had all the appearances of a tough rivalry battle going down to the wire.

Instead, however, despite taking a 3-2 lead on J.P. Dumont's second goal of the game, the wheels came off Nashville's figurative wagon midway through the period, as the Blackhawks scored four times to march off with a 6-3 win, tying them with the Preds for 5th place in the Western Conference standings. Not only that, but Nashville may have lost yet another key player due to injury.

Follow after the jump for video highlights, reaction, and the advanced even-strength stats...

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OK, let's start off with the video highlights and Predators vs Blackhawks boxscore:

  • How encouraging to see the Preds capitalize on an early power play on the road. That was a wicked shot by Cody Franson to set it up, Turco was just glad it didn't catch him in the throat, leaving the rebound loose for Erat to pick up.
  • Add one more to the "Kevin Klein lowlight reel" on the opening goal for Chicago, however. Not only did he muddle a clearing attempt up the boards, but he allowed Bickell to drive right around him to set up the score.
  • The power play continued to click with J.P. Dumont's goal to put the Preds up 2-1. Nice awareness to pick up that deflected puck and bang it home.
  • Who knows if we'll hear the details, but my money's on a separated shoulder for Francis Bouillon. No matter the case, it's frustrating to see another Pred get hurt. I'd expect that Shane O'Brien and Alexander Sulzer will hold down the left side on the 2nd and 3rd pairs if Cube has to miss time, but the question is, do they go with Belak as the emergency D, or call up someone like Jonathon Blum or Roman Josi?
  • I can't recall a good team like Chicago leaving so many pucks coasting up to the point in the defensive zone. The Nashville D was able to set up and fire a ton of pucks down low that the Blackhawks were just teeing up for them.
  • What a lousy pass by Legwand to create a turnover right at the offensive blueline (where Barry Trotz really can't stand them) and send Bolland off to the races. Kudos to Bolland for putting a wicked move on Suter then Lindback, though.
  • After Bouillon left the game, Terry Crisp emphasized the need of the forwards to help out the D, and none did that better than Chris Mueller, who back-checked furiously to break up a couple Chicago rushes. It was great to see him get rewarded with his first NHL point.
  • Mueller's first point came on an assist, that nice faceoff win which led to Dumont's 2nd goal early in the 3rd. Matt Halischuk didn't get an assist, but he ran a nice pick on his man to give J.P. a clear shooting lane.
  • Ryan Suter had a couple uncharacteristically poor moments, getting undressed on Bolland's 2nd goal, then taking the penalty which led to Brouwer's goal which tied the game up 3-3 midway through the 3rd.
  • Brouwer's go-ahead goal just seconds later featured a subtle pick by Patrick Kane to set the play up. Brouwer was being chased up the boards by Suter, but Kane got in Suter's way and cleared the path for Brouwer to cut into the middle and shoot.
  • The back-breaker then came after a successful PK, when Bryan Bickell was allowed to come right down the heart of the slot and take a wide open shot to beat Anders Lindback.
  • Overall, Lindback didn't play too poorly, although the Toews goal which made it 6-3 was one you'd like to see stopped.
  • The obligatory dose of reality says that the Preds are still in good shape relative to the teams behind them in the standings (with a couple games in hand on Chicago and Anaheim, but dang, this would've been a good one to win.
  • Ryan Suter, who had a rough night, played 32:43, a career high (he played 32:29 in a playoff game against San Jose in 2007). I would assume that's the most ice time for a player on the Preds all season, but I'll have to confirm that.
And for your advanced even-strength stats...
Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Jerred Smithson R 13:26 0 1 0 0 3 6 -3 6 11 -5
 Marcel Goc C 12:50 2 2 0 0 5 8 -3 10 13 -3
 David Legwand C 12:48 1 1 0 0 4 8 -4 10 12 -2
 Nick Spaling C 12:43 2 0 0 0 3 5 -2 6 11 -5
 Joel Ward R 12:20 0 0 0 1 5 5 0 7 12 -5
 Sergei Kostitsyn L 12:12 2 0 0 0 4 9 -5 10 14 -4
 Colin Wilson C 11:29 0 0 1 0 4 8 -4 10 11 -1
 Martin Erat R 11:08 1 1 1 0 4 6 -2 9 10 -1
 Patric Hornqvist R 11:06 1 0 1 0 3 7 -4 10 9 +1
 Matt Halischuk R 9:47 0 1 0 0 4 3 +1 6 6 0
 Chris Mueller C 8:47 1 0 0 0 3 5 -2 4 9 -5
 J.P. Dumont R 8:27 2 0 0 0 4 3 +1 6 5 +1
 Ryan Suter D 25:19 0 0 0 3 5 17 -12 13 28 -15
 Shea Weber D 22:16 0 2 1 3 5 14 -9 12 23 -11
 Kevin Klein D 17:15 0 0 2 3 6 7 -1 11 14 -3
 Alexander Sulzer D 14:29 2 0 1 0 9 6 +3 16 11 +5
 Cody Franson D 11:42 2 0 1 1 7 6 +1 12 8 +4
 Francis Bouillon D 2:16 0 0 0 0 0 2 -2 0 2 -2
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