After beating the Hurricanes on Friday, the Blackhawks are on a roll with a 5-2 win against the Predators last night. Rookie, Ryan Hartman, gets his first career hat-trick but in an abnormal fashion. Kane was the playmaker last night with 3 assists and the Hawks couldn’t have hung around without stellar goaltending by Corey Crawford. Finally, the 4th line of Tootoo, Rasmussen, and Desjardins, played incredibly well. All around great game by every member of the Hawks.
Alright, let’s break it down
Both teams played well defensively in the first. There were very few offensive opportunities that were created early on. although this is the case, a recent trend in which the Hawks have been following is giving up the dumbest penalties in hockey. At 4:29 they gave up the ‘sausage fest’ penalty for having too many men on the ice. THIS IS THE 4TH TIME THE HAWKS HAVE BEEN CALLED FOR TOO MANY MEN IN 3 GAMES. The hell is that? Luckily, the Preds only generated 1 or 2 shots on net during that penalty. A minute after the kill, Patrick Kane brought the puck up the ice and passed to Panarin at the top of the circle. The Breadman rockets a shot short side on Rinne at 7:45 into the period (Laser Sauce). I shit you not, this was probably Panarin’s best shot of the year. 45 seconds later, Mattias Ekholm ties the game up after a turnover in the neutral zone (No Sauce). Then, at 11:16, Michal Kempny gets called for delay of game after throwing the puck off the ice in the defensive zone. AGAIN, the Blackhawks can’t be taking these dumb penalties. The Predators again do not convert on the dumb mistakes by the Hawks. A minute after killing the penalty, Duncan Keith passes to Niklas Hjalmarsson in at the point. Hjalmarsson fakes a shot and then lets one rip to knock his 5th goal of the season (Career High Sauce). The play was made possible because of Artem Anisimov. Arty sat in front of the net and stood there blinding Rinne from seeing the shot. The first period comes to a close, Hawks lead 2-1 with 7 shots on net. Predators only managed to get 6 shots.
The second period was filled with offensive opportunities for the Blackhawks, but like Andrew Miller in the 2016 World series, they could not close. The 4th line came up huge this period. Their aggressive play style put loads of pressure on the Predators defenders generating a few opportunities. In the closing minutes of the period, Panarin had two golden opportunities. After a turnover in front of the net Panarin wrists one off of the iron and bounced wide. Then, a second later, the Hockey gods gave him a shot at redemption. Kempny rips a shot at from the point, bounces off a Predator defender directly to the stick of the Breadman. With a wide open net, Panarin manages to find Rinne’s padding. The period comes to a close, no score. The Blackhawks outshoot the Preds, 16-11.
Two minutes into the 3rd period the Predators get a faceoff in the Hawks defensive zone. The Predators win the draw and take an immediate shot from the point. The shot hits Anisimov’s stick causing it to break. Unfortunately, Anisimov attempts to clear the puck but because of the broken stick he cannot. Mike Fisher grabs the puck and puts a turnaround wrister on net. The puck trickles past the pads of Crawford, hits the iron and sits in the crease. Austin Watson then jams it home (Trash Sauce). Austin Watson becomes a certified Pigeon after that trashy goal. It seemed as if the puck was magnetic because the Predators could only hit iron from there on out. Hmm, I don’t remember posts counting as a goal in NHL hockey. Good thing for Hawks, though, because the Predators hit the post 3 times in the third. Later on, with 9 minutes left, The Hawks went back on the attack. The third line of Hartman, Panik, Kero was set out to score. *SIDE NOTE* I guarantee that every hockey coach in the world will confirm that good things happen when you go to the front of the net. Okay, let’s continue. Hartman grabs a loose puck in the corner and sees Panik sitting IN FRONT OF THE NET. He passes and Panik goes between the legs for a dirty shot. Rinne makes the first save, Panik gets the rebound and shoots again. The puck flies up in the air and Hartman, skating towards THE FRONT OF THE NET, hits it in with his body. The net pops out of place and the Refs have to take a closer look. They confirm that it is indeed a good goal (Sauce). The Blackhawks now up 3-2. With the Hawks closing in on a victory, the Predators decide to pull Rinne with 1:30 left. After a mishap in the Hawks defensive zone by the Predators defense, Ryan Hartman bats the puck from center ice for his second of the night (Sauce x2). Now, at this point Peter Laviolette (Predators Head Coach), is probably thinking, “Oh, well that’s the dagger, let’s put Rinne back in net.” Wrong. Well, I guess you got to respect the “never stop till it’s over” mentality, but the Hawks will always kick their opponent when they are down. Kane recovers a turnover in the defensive zone and passes to Hartman skating up ice. Hartman then sends the puck to an empty net for his Hat Trick (Sauce x3). Wait a minute. Hartman scored all three of his goals in the last 9 minutes of regulation with two empty netters? Sauce. The game comes to a close, Hawks win 5-2 putting up 31 shots on net compared to the Predators 27. Now let’s go to Hans’ Skate Shop for some highlights and insights from the game.
Hans’ Skate Shop of Highlights & Insights
Previously mentioned, Rookie, Ryan Hartman gets his first career hat trick with two empty netter goals and one that was a little too close for comfort. Kane adds 3 assists putting his total for the season at 32. Crawford had a great night in net saving .926 of shots faced and only letting up 2 goals. The fourth line came up huge tonight. By having efficient and aggressive shifts from the rear end of the lineup it can make all the difference. This will put wear and tear on the opposition’s defense creating offensive opportunities. The Blackhawks still giving up dumb penalties, which didn’t affect them now but could in the future. Hinostroza is getting in the groove, and playing very well on the Toews and Hossa line. Look out for him in the future.