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Nashville Predators 1, Chicago Blackhawks 2 (OT): Sharp, Saad Lead Comeback

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The Preds take a point in Chicago, and we are forced to hear “Chelsea Dagger” twice.

Photo: Patrick Gorski / USA TODAY Sports

This highly-anticipated game between the Hawks and the Predators included many Twitter wars between excited Nashville fans and salty Chicago fans proclaiming they have more cups than us.

Is home cooking the key for the Preds, or can they produce on the road as well?

A hook by Ryan Johansen put the Predators on the penalty kill early in the game, but an effective kill quickly brought the Preds back to even-strength. Some serious fore checking by the third and fourth lines demanded big saves from Corey Crawford in the middle of the period, and further pressure resulted in the first Predators power play of the night.

Post penalty kill, the United Center saw a shot clinic by the Predators on Crawford, but no pucks found the back of the net.

A Nick Bonino clearing attempt would put the Predators on the penalty kill again for a delay of game. Soon thereafter, Hawks captain Jonathan Toews would be whistled for interference on Colton Sissons. The period would end with more chances for both teams, but no goals.

Some big hits by Artem Anisimov and Anthony Bitetto resulted in a pair of roughing minors, but Bitetto’s additional boarding call put the Predators on the penalty kill again. Rinne provided some key saves, and the aggressive Nashville penalty killers were successful again.

Another pair of penalties meant more 4-on-4 hockey, but alas, no goals. Each goalie stood tall during the second. A tripping call on Jan Rutta put the Preds on the power play with a little over two minutes left in the period. Forsberg put a rebound in behind Crawford off a P.K. Subban wrister to put the good guys on the board first.

Austin Watson was called for a hold on the ensuing faceoff, putting the Preds on the penalty kill very late in the second. A trip on Arvi by Brent Seabrook right as the Hawks power play expired put the Predators on the power play to begin the third.

But wait! Another penalty on the Predators gives the Hawks another power play. We saw some fantastic penalty killing by Predators in this game, although being on the penalty kill is not the most ideal game situation.

Another penalty to Ryan Johansen (WTF Joey?) put Nashville on a penalty kill halfway through the third. Rinne made a few big saves, no big deal, and the Predators successfully killed off another penalty with a little under eight minutes left.

Pressure by Chicago late in the third led to a goal by Patrick Sharp to tie up the game. Coach Laviolette was incensed over the entire sequence that led to the goal, including a clearing attempt blocked by the linesman and a stick ripped out of Matt Irwin’s hands by Ryan Hartman.

BONUS HOCKEY!

It’s fantastic to see Sam Girard on the 3-on-3. It’s not fantastic to see Chicago get away with dirty plays on 3-on-3 hockey, and it’s awful to see the Predators lose after such a solid 60-minute effort. Brandon Saad was able to get a stick on the puck behind Rinne for the overtime goal.

The Predators were 6/6 on the penalty kill and 1/5 on the power play. Most importantly, Nashville blocked over 20 shots. Just like the first round of the 2017 playoffs, the Predators were able to clog up the neutral zone and prevent clean entries by the Blackhawks.

Although they were the better team tonight, several missed opportunities would come back to bite Nashville in this contest against Chicago.

Random Observations

  • Cody McLeod is not in the lineup tonight.
  • No Roman Josi, either. His fellow Swiss d-man Yannick Weber is also scratched.
  • Some early miscommunication with the shuffled d-corps result in some scrambles in the Preds zone.
  • The Bonino line looks very solid.
  • Offsides everywhere!
  • A massive save by Pekka Rinne on Richard Panik! Followed by more key saves.
  • Rinne’s pads look quite good with the new away jerseys.
  • Green Day’s “Longview” before a faceoff is an interesting song choice
  • Bitetto with a big hit on DeBrincat puts the Preds back on the penalty kill...again.
  • All this pushing and shoving from some Preds and Hawks mean they’re best friends, right?
  • It’s not adventure time, Pekka!
  • The white collars on red jerseys look like the Hawks put on a formal collared shirt under their sweaters.
  • Is Ekholm the newest “underrated” Predator d-man? He is absolutely instrumental in this matchup.
  • The fourth line of Salomaki-Sissons-Watson is excellent tonight.
  • PK Subban is going to be the king of assists if he keeps putting shots on the net.
  • Arvi continues to be denied by Crawford, but I feel like this is only temporary.
  • Bless you, brave Predators fans in the United Center.
  • Johansen has been in the box way too much this game.
  • Zebras blowing calls, per usual.
  • Where is Nick Bonino?

Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Filip Forsberg: Scoresberg has 5 goals in 5 games...an incredible pace for #9.
  2. PK Subban: His initial shot on the power play led to Forsberg’s rebound goal.
  3. Pekka Rinne: The Finnish netminder made 33 saves on 35 shots tonight for a .943 SV%.

Tweets of the Night

Game Extras

Game Video