By Michael Calvert
The game started out like a typical Preds game, slow with a lot of backing and forth-ing in the neutral zone. However, at 11:50 in the first, the Preds started rolling. Just as their power play expired, Roman Josi scores on a pretty give and go pass that Saad must have been impressed by as he too sat watching.
Craig Smith deposited a rebound at 17:12 to give the Predators a 2-0 lead, which feels insurmountable the way this game is going, not to mention Rinne’s 1.8 goals against average.
The Predators had 18 shots in the first period, this is not your father’s Preds, not even your older brother’s.
The second period was quite a show, it started with an early power play for the Hawks on a slash to Marian Hossa. The Hawks weren’t able to muster much on the pp.
The scoring in the second took a while, and then Oduya scored the Predators third goal, and after further review the goal was decided to go to James Neal. 3-0 Predators, you can officially put a fork in the Hawks down 3-0 with only half a game left.
Then the Hawks started to push back, just as Shea Weber’s penalty expired, Kane to Richards for a 1 timer beauty slapper top shelf, 3-1.
The Hawks second goal of the period came at 15:48, just 5 minutes after the 2nd goal. Andrew Shaw alertly collected the puck soccer style with his skate, as his stick was laying on the ice in the corner. Shaw was able to dribble the puck to his stick while maintaining possession get off a pass and then score the rebound. It was by no means a beauty of a play, but it showed the determination and where with all of a player with a hell of a lot of grit, and surprisingly considering the hits, intelligence. Hell of a play 3-2, here come the Hawks.
Kane sets up another 1 timer beauty this time to Marian Hossa at 16:47 and this game is all tied up.
It would not last as James Neal gets goal # 1.5 of the game just 7 seconds into a too many men on the ice penalty. Aside from the delay of game, too many men on the ice in my opinion is the most frustrating of penalties, exponentially worse when it gives the Preds back the lead the Hawks had worked so hard to erase. 4-3 Predators. Blackhawks get 16 shots this period.
Unlike the second period, the third period did not feature a lot of goal scoring, however, it had it’s moments.
Hjalmarsson got railroaded into the boards by Erik Nystrom. To be clear, Nystrom did not leave his skates, lead with an elbow, target the head or hit Jalms when he wasn’t looking. With that being said, is it really necessary to finish a check into the boards at full speed? I believe not, a reviewable hit in my opinion for intent. Jalms goes down and stays down for a minute, getting up shakily and also shakily skates himself off the ice straight to the locker room. This is a big deal as Jalms is essentially an all star defenseman, and Q only likes Rozsival behind him, more on that later.
Well, fret not as Hjalmarsson was back on the bench at 13:30 and just to make his presence felt got a high sticking penalty just a minute later. I’ll take it. Preds do nothing with their pp and still nurse a 1 goal lead.
At right around 18:35 the Hawks pull Crawford for the 6th skater and Bickell scores on a rebound just ten seconds later, crowd goes wild, 4-4.
In this version of the too short 4-4 no goals were scored amidst plenty of action and we go to a shoot out.
Let’s just say Crawford really knows how to handle a breakaway. At this point I’m legitimately surprised when he actually gets scored on in a breakaway be it game or shootout. That’s a great thing.
For some reason the Preds bring out 4th or 5th D man Ryan Ellis to take their first shot, he misses.
For some reason, Toews went 5 hole on Rinne, and for some reason it worked for I believe the 158th time.
Craig Smith did the slow roll on Crawford and actually got off a really well placed shot, but Crawford from basically push up position managed to get his left pad on the shot, great save.
With an opportunity to win the game Patrick Kane did his version of the Craig Smith, equally successfully and the Hawks hold a 1-0 lead in this shoot out.
ROY, crown him now, Filip Forsberg did not even find net, goalie pad or pipe and the Hawks win this one.
Just a hell of a game, I thought oh great a blowout I have to continue watching when Oduya scored the 3rd goal, well, it really turned out well.
Q: How do you make an Olli Jokinen uglier? A: Give him long greasy hair. The guy is now a dead ringer for Heath Ledger’s Joker.
Crow’s Mask earned its paycheck last night.
Sharp started on line 4 but when the game was either in jeopardy or the comeback seemed feasible he moved up to line 1 in place of Saad.
Erixon does not have Q’s confidence. He is now the proud owner of the two lowest minute games for a d man on the Hawks, more impressively this feat was accomplished in just two games this one and last game at the Av’s. Funny thing, it really doesn’t matter.
Damn it feels good to be a Hawks fan.
The lines for the game were:
Saad, Toews, Hossa
Versteeg, Richards, Kane
Bickell, Shaw, Carcillo
Sharp, Kruger, Smith
Brad Richards was back in the lineup for the Hawks meaning Nordstrom was out.