The Chicago Blackhawks came out with a huge victory last night over the Nashville Predators with a 3-0 victory in what turned out to be a statement game showing Nashville that the Hawks are not folding up like a lawn chair and letting them take the series that quickly.
Chicago didn’t just get the win last night but they added a few more things with that solid road playoff victory.
1 – Many Predator fans called this the most important game in franchise history. I agree, it most definitely was so kudos to the Hawks for coming through and putting their foot down.
2 – We obtained the home ice advantage back for our new best of three series.
3 – Confidence, the Hawks scored almost as many goals in this game then we did the prior 3 games.
The Predators were a far cry from what they were in game #3 but they did not quit..they never do and that’s why I respect them so much as there are not many teams that outwork them on any given night. They did not capitalize on their chances such as a 5 on 3 where they took a lot of shots but many were blocked by shot blocking extraordinaire Brent Sopel who was unreal again in that department. The Predators ended up 0 for 5 on the PP and the Hawks were 50% at 1 for 2, the Preds need to get it going as they are scoreless on the PP in the entire series as their struggles on special teams continue from the regular season.
Antii Niemi made 33 saves with only a few being spectacular however he was solid even stopping newly crowned icon to Predator fans Shea Weber 4 times, Jason Arnott 5 times and Ryan Suter 4 times in earning his second shutout of the series.
Patrick Sharp continued his streak of taking bad penalties but made it up big time by notching 2 goals.
The Hawks were much more physical last night and it seemed to pay off and in my humble opinion Chicago was more physical then Nashville was…no by much..but enough.
Bickell looked pretty decent out there and even picked up an apple on the second Hawks goal.
Campbell was not spectacular but he was solid and what more can a team ask for coming of a broken clavicle injury much sooner then expected. Soupy even made a couple nice rushes and was behind the Predators net a few times after those rushes so bringing him back most definitely helped the Hawks puck moving. Nashville chose not to hit Campbell for some reason last night and I am not sure if that was a case of not being able to catch him or lack of fore-checking but surely they could have hit him when he was deep in their zone. What a difference adding Soupy back into the mix, giving us 3 solid defensive units with Byfuglien playing with Sopel. I can’t even imagine how strong the squad would be if Johnsson was back enabling Byfuglien to move back to forward and causing havoc again but that’s wishful thinking and will make due with what we have.
“We liked the speed he provides and exiting of the zone, his puck possession game. First game in a long time for him, he did a remarkable job,” Quenneville.
Duncan Keith last night was not good..not good at all. Hawks fans perhaps did not notice that because they never rip into Keith and don’t see it much but he made a countless number of turnovers and poor decisions with the puck. I don’t expect him to play that poorly again and will be much better next game and luckily the rest of the defense was solid last night or it could have been a much different outcome.
With that win I am sure all the message boards across NHL nation will now be flipped as it has been throughout the series, the Predator fans who were on cloud nine will now be switched to blaming and questioning work ethic, players, special teams etc and the Hawks fans will switch from that and be on cloud nine for a day. I am going to try to stay level headed as I know this series is a game by game series which seems like neither team wants to take control of.
Let’s hope the Hawks can take a series lead on Saturday in front of the loudest craziest fans in the league at the Madhouse on Madison United Center.
About the Author
Written by Trent Kondo
An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for Prosportsblogging.com on the Blackhawks and NHLHotstove.com on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at TKONHOCKEY@gmail.com )