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Nashville Predators 5, Chicago Blackhawks 2: The Kids Shine in Nashville Victory

While Richard's line was overmatched and himself with it, Tolvanen fit right in, and Kevin Fiala is going to be fine.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators
Two of these players did not play in this game.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

An injury-ravaged Nashville Predators took the ice against Chicago tonight, with a lineup that more closely resembled the legendary Soup Game of yore. On the other side of the ice, the Blackhawks’ lower lines prompted a similar amount of “who?” from the gathered Nashville media.

The Preds got off to a good start, making it almost a full minute before icing the puck. The important stuff would begin a minute later, with the Preds taking a 1-0 lead off a somewhat lucky (and poorly defended) shot from Fiala. A minute and a half later, Eeli Tolvanen potted his first NHL goal off a clean backhander from the slot via a great pass from Craig Smith. Less than a minute later, the party continued with another shot attempt from Kevin Fiala that Ryan Johansen cleaned up for a 3-0 lead.

About the time the fans started requesting frosties, Miikka Salomaki laid a hit on Duncan Keith that Keith took exception to, throwing Salomaki onto the ice and eventually getting himself thrown out of the game with 29 penalty minutes. The Preds came out of the minor line brawl with a seven minute powerplay, which they nearly completely squandered, including two full minutes of 5 on 3 and giving up a shorthanded goal. With less than a minute remaining, however, Craig Smith finally gave the fans what they were asking for. 4-1 Nashville.

The second period was much less riveting than the first, with the Hawks and Preds trading posts and the Hawks chipping away at Nashville's shot advantage. Eventually a double-shifted Patrick Kane managed to spin the Predators fourth line around enough to pass to Artem Anisimov for the only goal of the period. 4-2.

The third period continued apace, with the Blackhawks getting their first powerplay of the night as Austin Watson was sent off for slashing. Fortunately, Rinne was up to the task. The Blackhawks continued to press, but were unable to break through. With less than three minutes to go, they pulled Cam Ward during a very scrambly play and Watson was able to recover the puck and score the empty-netter.

Random Observations

  • Hartman, the former Blackhawk, currently leads the on-ice Predators in goals
  • I honestly didn't know it was Ward in net. Fortunately, Section 303 did.
  • Cam Ward currently has a .250 save percentage
  • We are seven minutes in and already asking for frosties
  • WHAT IS HAPPENING
  • The Preds get a seven (7!!) minute powerplay
  • Five on three time!
  • That was pathetic. [This is a schedule observation.]
  • And THAT was inevitable. Rinne now has a .500.
  • Craig Smith, thank you
  • It's been mostly Preds all night, but the Hawks top line is still dangerous.
  • Foot on the gas, guys.
  • I need a replay.
  • *whew*
  • Smith is hungry tonight.
  • The third paid + fourth line have appropriately low ice time tonight.
  • This second period is much less exciting.
  • And the fourth line gives one up to the Kane+Anisimov combo
  • PLAY OFFENSE AGAIN, GUYS
  • There are some famous people in the crowd.
  • Got dang, Rinne
  • PLAY SOME DEFENSE, GUYS
  • Martinsen went feet first into Rinne, but Rinne made the save.
  • Ward can't do that, but I don't want a powerplay...
  • Well, Watson got his money's worth out of that slashing penalty
  • WOWOW. If Fiala had scored there.
  • Willy with less than ten minutes to go has become a T-Minus clock
  • Fiala looks really good tonight.
  • The Hawks have left a man open in front of the net all night long, but the Preds have not cashed in nearly as much as they should.
  • Johansen pick-pocketed Kane at the blue line
  • That was a quick empty-net goal

Tweets of the Night

OTF's Super Duper Stars of the Game

  1. Pekka Rinne. Even when the rest of the team was taking the remainder of the game off, he came through with plenty of vintage saves.
  2. Eeli Tolvanen. A goal and an assist in his debut.
  3. Kevin Fiala. He had a goal and an assist and had plenty of other chances. He'll be okay.