What Happened Last Night: Nashville Predators @ Chicago Blackhawks Game 3
Or should we say "What Happened Yesterday Afternoon". Whatever.
It's one thing to learn from the successes and failures of your own efforts, it's another to learn from another's efforts. The Nashville Predators had a chance to wreak some real havoc on a team in this midst of a goaltending chance and steal all the momentum by shelling them in their own building. They would have to overcome the loss of Shea Weber, and still generate enough production without their second line center (Mike Fisher).
That didn't happen.
Preds fall to Chicago
How they lost:
Everyone knew the Chicago Blackhawks were going to come out with a barrage. That should not have surprised anyone. The key bit was to respond. Getting goals from Mike Ribeiro (REALLY. HE SHOT THE PUCK. HE HAS ONE OF THE BEST SHOOTING PERCENTAGES IN THE LEAGUE. WHY? HE DOESN'T SHOOT THE PUCK ENOUGH.) and Mattias Ekholm did enough to create some urgency in the building. This is how Nashville can still win this series; Chicago isn't used to having a team press against them like this, and even the cool-headed Marian Hossa will take a penalty.
Hossa penalty pic.twitter.com/dwzNJEvF9S— Stephanie Vail (@myregularface) April 19, 2015
I always hate it when guys do that. The back of your head is pretty vulnerable, and it's hard to brace for that. But Nashville couldn't score on the ensuing power play, so no damage done.
Then, after a good stretch of 3 periods without Captain Hammer, it happened.
There's a lot to talk about here. Brandon Saad has become the perfect compliment to Jonathan Toews and Hossa. Here's what I'll start with- I'm not a fan of Seth Jones being with Roman Josi. Unless this is NHL '94, you want your defensemen to fit together like a puzzle piece. Both of them are great at joining the rush, driving the play, and carrying the puck into the zone. Neither of them like to stay back, and that's the issue. This is exactly the situation where Cody Franson, AKA Diet Shea Weber, would fit in well beside Josi. That would mean Seth Jones gets back with Anton Volchenkov or Victor Bartley, and the defensemen pairings are three balanced pairings. This is what the LA Kings have showed us for the last few years. It's not about having the best possible pieces, it's about having the right pieces for the right system.
Here's the fourth goal.
Pekka Rinne did not have his best game, but 3 of the Chicago goals came off of rushes. In a related story, Seth Jones and Roman Josi were a -3 in the score sheet.
This was the first games of the series where Coach Q knew exactly where to attack, and what to take advantage of in the Nashville scheme. Changes will need to be made for Nashville to survive and win on Tuesday, let alone win this series. And yes, they have the tools to do it. The problem may be the catalyst for this change is currently getting 12 minutes of ice time a night.
We'll see what happens. Tuesday's game is paramount.