NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators

Hey, Wait, I Got a New Complaint: Predators 5, Blackhawks 2 (Hawks lead series 3-2)

Box Score

Event Summary

War on Ice

Well, it sure sounded like it could be a fun day/night for Chicago sports in theory. The reality, though, was far from it. The Bulls were able to win in double overtime; the Cubs blew a late lead and the Sox were looking to set series momentum of their own with a bench clearing brawl, which ended up in an extra innings loss.

And then your Blackhawks. You can say this, it was a decent 40 minutes on the road. Then the 3rd period started.

–In that 3rd period, the James Neal goal was just goofy. It seemed like the Hawks had it pretty well covered. I hate to throw the term lazy or lackadaisical on Duncan Keith or Marcus Kruger. Keith had the far post covered and Kruger was right behind him taking away any passing lane. Neal, to his credit, jammed the puck off Keith’s skate and into the net.

When we talk about puck luck or getting a bounce, this is a prime example. 98% of the time, the Hawks keep that puck out of their net. For whatever reason, Neal got enough of the puck to muscle it past Keith.

Could Keith have positioned his stick better? Maybe. But he’s been successful in the past making the exact same play so….it’s hard to expect he would do anything different.

Anyways, let’s keep going.

–Nashville’s 3rd goal was set up by a pretty terrible Michal Rozsival penalty. Then the Hawks PK gave Colin Wilson enough time to explain the invasion of Poland and he scored one of the easier goals of his career.

I get why Hjalmarsson played the pass in that situation given the Predators propensity to look for the backdoor pass in Game 1…but the Hawks have to make it more difficult there. Keith has to close down the passing lane to get Wilson the puck. The Hawks have to collapse on to Wilson when he makes that spin move. That goal was way too damn easy and quite frankly, they’re lucky that’s the only time it has worked so far in this series because it’s been there every damn time.

–In professional hockey, the use of your one timeout is generally very obvious. Whether it’s after an icing, the opposition potting a few quick goals or to draw up a play late in the game, the situation almost always screams “USE YOUR TIMEOUT.”

Tonight, after the Predators made it 3-1 less than 4 minutes into the third, it certainly seemed like the ideal situation for Joel Quenneville to call his timeout, settle everything down, let his team catch their collective breath and use the final 16 minutes to try and claw back into the game.

Instead, he fell asleep at the wheel, let play continue and the Predators scored another 12 seconds after that. You can lay blame at whoever lost their man on the play but that one could have probably been easily prevented if the game was slowed down with a timeout. Making matters worse, he didn’t even use his timeout after that goal.

It really came back to bite the Hawks when they cut the lead to 4-2 with 5 minutes to play. In a situation where they could’ve been chasing one goal, it was two.

Ultimately, there are a lot of hypotheticals here but my point is, it’s easy to recognize when a coach should use his timeout and Joel Quenneville failed to realize it tonight.

–The good news is the last time the Hawks failed to drop the sword on an opponent when they had a chance, they made them pay when they went to Vancouver and beat them 6-1 in 2010. Also good news, as we have seen, is that Nashville is a different team outside of Bridgestone.

The bad news is they only need to put together one strong road game to bring this series to a coin flip.

The Hawks, as usual, have said all the right things after this loss. Winning Game 6 won’t be easy; it may not be fun but it will be a whole helluva lot better than another Game 7.

  • ZigZags82

    Can always count on Fifth Feather to talk me off the ledge! (Not that I was on it) We should all relax.

  • TitanTransistor

    It’s very disheartening to see this team struggle so much against an opponent lacking their number one defensemen.

    If they do get past Nashville, I can’t say I love their chances against a healthy opponent.

    • Bannerman

      Their 2-5 defensemen aren’t exactly the keystone cops.

    • ZigZags82

      Nashville is still a damn good team with or without him…..

  • Brandon Murray

    For all the complaints, it seems people have forgotten just how good Nashville was all season. Both of these teams struggled going into the playoffs, but both have played much better in this series. Losing a road tilt in the playoffs is always a possibility. Look at both games we have lost this series, both were tied in the 3rd & then a flurry of Nashville goals closed it out in a strange fashion. It takes a special effort to close out the Blackhawks and this year is no different. Remember, playoffs are hard. Detroit fell apart in 5 minutes but still have a 2-2 with the favored Lightning. Not all seeds hold in the NHL playoffs. Losing last night was always a possibility, because Nashville is fairly dominant at home. I’ll take my chances at the UC in a playoff game. I like everyone else am terrified of a game 7, so let’s end it tomorrow. The only good news to come out of last night was the fact that I have tickets for game 6, so I guess I’ll see the clincher in person. Let’s Go Hawks!

  • Bannerman

    So who starts in goal for game 6? Perfect chance to go back to Crawford and thank Darling for a job well done.
    Versteeg made a pretty good case to stay in the lineup. What a difference a year makes. Last season, the question was which crappy forward do we have to play. Now the question is which good forward has to sit.
    Roszy’s penalty was bad in that he should know better and because if he skates another 2 strides they don’t make that call. On the other hand, referees swallow their whistles on that call a lot during the playoffs.

    • billybee53

      Think it’s time for Rozi to sit in the press box !!!

    • T.M.

      Versteeg made a pretty good case to stay in the lineup? How did he do that?

      • Bannerman

        In the first two periods he was alright. He also scored a goal. To the person making that decision, that’s likely enough. I didn’t watch after the third goal figuring if they forced OT I’d be forced to stay up to see how it ended.

    • Pilotefan

      Thinking along the same lines. Crawford is the man if we are going to go deep. I’d rather see him back for Game 6 than dropped into 7.
      Q does a man love thing with one guy each year. It is what it is.

  • Jim

    OT: Note to Theo – your bullpen sux and schlitter has lost you half your games.

    I don’t want to talk about hockey today.

    • ZigZags82

      We don’t need to. Nothing to talk after that, it happens, that’s the result

    • ItNeverEnds

      Safe to say the bullpen has Schlit the bed

  • rhodes

    Rozsival had 18+ TOI last night. I agree that he had decent games in 3 & 4 (maybe being at home had something to do with that?), but his longer history this year has shown that his play is inconsistent at best.

    Goal #2 last night started with Rosi (with no pressure on him) mishandling a pass around the boards from Keith. Goal #3 happened on a PP that resulted from a completely avoidable interference penalty on you-know-who.

    Q has got to come up with a defensive strategy that doesn’t involve Rozsival to this degree. I know, it’s all been said before.

    • rhodes

      By the way, Kimmo had 8:46 TOI. Does he really need to be protected this much? Still?

      • ZigZags82


  • fromheretoinfirmary