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Nashville Predators 3, Chicago Blackhawks 5: Panik’s Hat Trick Sinks Preds

The Predators split the 2nd half of a back-to-back with the Hawks. Season starts at 1-1.

Chicago Blackhawks v Nashville Predators Photo by Sanford Myers/Getty Images

The Nashville Predators lost to the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3, splitting the back-to-back season opening weekend.

The Blackhawks roared back from their first two losses of the season with a flurry of goals in the 1st period. Nick Schmaltz scored his 1st NHL goal, beating Mazanec high over his glove side. Then after Brent Seabrook scored, Richard Panik spun Matt Carle around like a toy and finished on the backhand. It was looking pretty ugly.

Then Colin Wilson got the Preds on the board and it looked like a whole new hockey game. The Preds returned to their puck possessing ways, limiting the Hawks’ opportunities and creating a ton for themselves. Later in the 2nd period, Craig Smith scored a beauty on the power play to make it a one goal game, 3-2.

The Hawks halted the Preds momentum in the 3rd period however. Panik would put the Hawks up 4-2 on a power play goal. Though Viktor Arvidsson scored a nice goal off of a beautiful pass from Mattias Ekholm, Panik would finish off the hat-trick late in the 3rd before the Preds could pull Maz for the extra attacker.

When you looked at this opening weekend back-to-back, a split seemed the most likely outcome. I guess I’m not surprised. Still, if you don’t fart around for 10 minutes and get yourself down 3-0, you probably win this thing.

Next up, Dallas.

Random Observations

  • If the Predators wanted to test out their “come-from-behind” game early in the season, they have their chance here. Spotting the Hawks with 3 goals barely 10 minutes into the game is not usually a recipe for success.
  • Marek Mazanec not enjoying his 1st career start in the United Center. Just need ya to hold on there, bud. Don’t let it get out of hand, if it hasn’t already.
  • The Predators fight back to get a goal on the board at the end of the 1st period. Colin Wilson finishes a beautiful play by James Neal to make it 3-1. Neal had the initial shot and Wilson finished the rebound. Scott Darling looks to be locked in tonight, so rebounds might be the only way to beat him.
  • Keeping the Wilson-Fisher-Neal line together is proving smart. Really no reason to think that line will change anytime soon.
  • The 2nd period was much more like Friday night. Predators playing more possession and getting a lot of great chances. Darling has held his own in net so far.
  • Salomaki just took a puck to the hand and OH MY GOD HIS HAND SEVERED OFF HIS ARM AND IS FLYING THROUGH TH- oh that’s his glove, my bad. He went to the locker room and did not return.
  • SMITTY! Oh my goodness oh my stars what a shot
  • The power play is simply on fire right now. They look so dangerous out there.
  • Maz has had his moments since the 1st period. Gotta give him that.
  • Hawks get a power play in the 3rd and score. Momentum killer right there. Marian Hossa did all the work, but Panik puts it home.
  • ARVY! Oh my what a play. Ekholm with a long pass to feed Arvy breaking in and he beats Darling. Pretty, pretty play there. 4-3!
  • Darn. Hawks get one late. Panik gets his 3rd of the game. Hats are off in Chicago.

OTF’s Super Duper Stars of the Game

  • Craig Smith: Great shot on the power play. This is what he does.
  • Mattias Ekholm: Incredible cross ice pass to Arvidsson for the 3rd goal. How did he even see that?
  • Viktor Arvidsson: He was all over the place as usual. Great goal too.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras

Game video