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Blackhawks 5, Predators 4: Gritty effort earns partial credit

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Tonight was one of those games which almost makes you feel good about the abomination which is the NHL's OT loser point, because the Nashville Predators put forth a determined effort in the face of some tough odds, and went toe-to-toe with the Chicago Blackhawks. Three times they took the lead, and three times the Hawks answered back. Chicago took a lead in the 3rd period, but David Legwand tied it up just moments later, at least forcing the game to overtime and allowing the Preds to earn a much-needed point in the standings.

Ultimately, Viktor Stalberg won it for the Blackhawks in overtime, but there was much to be encouraged about in this one, so follow after the jump....

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First up, the video highlights:

Rambling thoughts from tonight's game:

  • A hearty thank-you to Corey Crawford for the turnover which led to the early goal by Patric Hornqvist, which helped the Preds weather an early storm brought about by consecutive penalties by Craig Smith and Blake Geoffrion.
  • You have to love the way Craig Smith buried the feed from Martin Erat to put the Preds up 2-1 early in the 2nd. He wasted no time at all firing a strong wrist on goal.
  • It was funny watching Patrick Kane get a couple odd-man rushes, he seemed almost overly casual on some of them, like he's so used to getting a few each game that it was no big deal.
  • The scary thing was just watching the Blackhawks wheel and create scoring chances off the most minor of turnovers at times. Pekka Rinne was outstanding to shut so many of them down.
  • While they did an incredible job killing seven Chicago power plays (including 1:53 of 5-on-3 play), working that much time shorthanded really hamstrung the Preds, especially in the 3rd period with key figures like Erat, Smithson & Suter heading to the box.
  • I almost threw my remote at the TV when Halischuk threw that pass while on a shorthanded rush in the final minutes of the 3rd. Those things get turned into odd-man rushes against all the time.
  • The final rush in OT was like watching a crash in slow-motion, Hillen was backpedaling so desperately that he was due to over-commit at some point.
  • No table of advanced stats tonight, although you can get tonight's Corsi numbers at Time On Ice. The Erat-Smith-Halischuk line got murdered at even strength.

All in all, a tough loss tonight, but considering the way the team came into the game, without Mike Fisher, Sergei Kostitsyn, or Nick Spaling, you have to chalk this up as a bit of gravy.

NHL Boxscore - Game Summary - Event Summary