NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks

It Took a Life Span With No Cellmate: Blackhawks 4, Predators 2; (Hawks lead series 2-1)

Box Score

Event Summary

War on Ice

If you needed anymore proof that momentum doesn’t carry from game to game in the playoffs, Game 3 between the Predators and Blackhawks should serve as Exhibit A. After exploding for 3 goals at the end of Game 2 and sending the city of Chicago into a rash of overreactions, the Hawks took to Game 3 and made the most of their opportunities.

Even after coughing up two leads in less than a minute, the Hawks continued to dominate play in the middle frame. For whatever reason, this period has been a problem for Nashville all year. There’s really no explanation for something like that. It’s weird, it’s bizarre and it’s hockey.

The Hawks outscored Nashville 3-1 in the second period and it was all the Hawks needed to hold serve on home ice.

Let’s move on to bigger and better things.

–The Hawks are almost embarrassingly deep at forward. Are there any other playoff teams that are choosing between the likes of Antoine Vermette and a rookie phenom on a nightly basis?

Andrew Desjardins is another guy they can choose to dress or scratch. Outside of the New York Rangers, I can’t picture another team that faces such decisions.

Desjardins, the second Nashville goal notwithstanding, had a very strong Game 3. He opened the scoring for the Hawks by nicely cutting across the slot and creating a shooting lane that wasn’t there. In that situation, a lot of other guys *cough Nordstrom cough* would simply fire an off-angle shot towards the net.

Desjardins cut in front of the defenseman forcing Pekka Rinne to move his feet. Even though the first shot was blocked, the puck came right back to him in prime shooting position.

He was also excellent on the forecheck leading to the Hawks fourth goal and opening up space for Jonathan Toews.

–On home ice, Quenneville chose to match up the Cullen line against Toews and that pretty much was the last anyone heard from them. The only Nashville line that was a consistent threat was the Stalberg line matched up against Richards.

I’d say that needs to be fixed….but it’s also Stalberg getting a ton of the chances and we all remember how many of his opportunities he actually scores on.

–Here’s one…no, two things that the Hawks could start doing to really neutralize the Predators. The first being stop reversing their breakouts. It seemed like every time the Hawks tried to reverse the play on a breakout, there was a Predator draped all over them. Then the Predators would establish their forecheck and it would turn into mass paranoia in the Hawks end.

The other thing would be to start incorporating easy high flips out of the defensive zone instead of trying to skate the puck out and/or making an impossible pass.

In other words, play exactly as they did against Winnipeg in their last meeting. Nashville is too quick and too aggressive for the Hawks to try and breakout of their zone perfectly every time. High flips will force their defensemen to not hold the blue line and take their first step back every time a Hawks defensemen gets control of the puck.

Then, it will open up those lanes for a controlled breakout later in the game.

The Hawks did incorporate this at times but there were a lot of opportunities generated by Nashville when the Hawks were coughing up the puck at or around their blue line.

–As a team, the Hawks in the Toews era have never really cared who is in net and neither should you.

When the Hawks play and score like they did today, it really doesn’t matter. Of course, the whole scoring thing partly had to do with Pekka Rinne’s play but whatever.

–The Hawks defense did a really solid job in the third period (and the game, in general) of denying entry into their blue line. Against the Predators defense consistently rushing the puck, this was a huge reason for holding on to their two goal lead. It seemed like the Predators were stunned to see a Hawks stick that close to them every time they crossed the blue line.

This directly led to the Hawks limiting any opportunities generated off the rush and in turn, helped generate offense going the other way.

In Game 4, my guess would be the Predators will either start chipping pucks deep or trying to change the angle of their zone entry to open up lanes within the Hawks defense.

How the Hawks respond to this will be a key thing to watch.

–You’re not going to believe this but with Antoine Vermette in the lineup, the Hawks won 34 of the 59 faceoffs. Even though Vermette went 4-5 in the dot, it makes a huge difference to have 4 guys who can win a faceoff as opposed to three. Crazy, I know.

Nashville did score a goal off a faceoff but that was a pretty impressive set play where the Hawks got caught off guard after Kruger got kicked out of the circle and no one was sure of their responsibilities.

–So we move to Game 4 where the Hawks can really grab hold of this series. You’re starting to get the feeling that Nashville is teetering on the line of a full blown meltdown and they certainly have a cast of characters not to disappoint. Paul Gaustad nearly decapitated Bryan Bickell, James Neal had a ridiculous dirty pick on Patrick Sharp in the final minute and Mike Ribeiro is doing Mike Ribeiro things.

Put them to the sword in Game 4 and we may start to see more.

Need tickets to Game 4? Look no further than right here!

  • Jim
  • 2Down&14ToGo

    So I’m patiently waiting for everyone who hates Crow (like my neighbor) to shout from the rooftops how great Darling was and if he had started game 2 we would be up 3-0. I have always been a Crawford fan and I am a Darling fan. I thought Q panicked a little when he gave the Darling the start but I’ve since backed off that ledge.

    Today was more of a complete game from the Hawks, one we are more used to seeing. At the outset I was rather pissed that TT was sat, but it ended up ok. As far as Darling goes, he was solid, solid as he could be. I never felt like he had to make the spectacular save and I was extremely disappointed when he flinched not once but twice just seconds after we had taken a lead. Other than that it didn’t feel like he was tested very much. I mean the volume shots were there but not too many were A+ chances. This of course will happen when the Nashville Captain is sitting at home.

    Completely different approach defensively than what we saw in the final 8 minutes on Friday when it appeared the Hawks were content with letting guys blow by them to the net.

    So here we are. I firmly believe that because Q went to Darling, you live and die with him now. No reason to flip flop.No reason for Darling to finish this series and then put a rusty Crow with a small case of “am I good enough” between the pipes in round 2.

    I guess my point is this. If we can take care of business on Tuesday and grab this series by the balls, we can hopefully go to Nashville up 3-1 with a chance to close. As far as who is in net goes, it would seem the fans have spent more time arguing and belittling each other which is sillym after all we aren’t Blues fans.

    Oh and Mike “Nanny Beater” Rebeiro doing Nanny Beater things is humorous at best. Might be Wakey Wakey time for him only this time lets make sure it is a legal hit, but a good one at best. Let’s Go Hawks!

    • WookRN

      I agree. I’d love to see Darling do well, but I don’t think he had to face the bad looks that Crow did.

      • Sopel the catfish

        No Rosie hand grenades today, he’s probably in deep with some bookies and has been gunning to get Darling in for them.

        • Sopel the catfish

          There is always a way to make it his fault

  • DJ

    –So we move to Game 4 where the Hawks can really grab hold of this series. You’re starting to get the feeling that Nashville is teetering on the line of a full blown meltdown and they certainly have a cast of characters not to disappoint.

    Unpossible. They’re a superior team with superior coaching. The threads on this site have posts saying this scattered all over them like feces on the walls of a severely disturbed toddler’s room.

    This was a relatively close match on paper. Losing Weber and Fisher is very damaging to Nashville. It forces them to do something they haven’t been very good at this year: winning on the road.

    The Hawks need to clean up their defensive zone exits and use Nashville’s aggressive forechecking against them. If they can do that, we have a good chance.

    • ZigZags82

      The Hawks are the superior team with the superior coaching, that’s what you mean right? Because that’s correct

      • Guest

        He was being sarcastic in response to titan transistor, who, earlier today, claimed that Nashville is the superior team with superior coaching.

        • WookRN

          It’s not today.
          It’s nearly every team, nearly every game.

          • Guest

            Yep, very true. It speaks to his character, haha.

          • WookRN

            I kinda feel sad for him.
            Imagine how joyless that life is.

          • rhodes

            I dunno, my dad used to say my grandmother (his mother-in-law) was never happy unless she had something to complain about.

          • Guest

            Like I said before, I firmly believe that if the Hawks won the cup in a series that went 6 or 7 games, titan trans would bitch that they didn’t get it done in 4 or 5.

            He’s the kind of person that if you gave him a million dollars, he’d complain that it was in fifties and not hundreds.

          • Guest

            Who knows? Maybe trolling the Internet from your parents basement is more gratifying than we can realize?

  • rhodes

    As I have been a vocal critic of Rozsival, I feel it’s only fair to point out when he has a good game. Today was one. He was deliberate with the puck–no panicked clearing attempts. He was smart about when to pinch. I only saw him overwhelmed by an offensive rush once–and that was Stalberg who beat him only to get off a non-threatening shot, which is forgivable.

    It was nice to see. I hope it’s a sign of things to come.

    • WookRN

      He biffed a nice open net, but it was a knuckle puck. would have been nice, but that was a tough shot.

      • Jim

        Saw that, maybe it was for the better he missed it. If he scored a goal, then he would be even more entrenched on Q’s untouchable list (if that is possible, for Rosival to be even more entrenched, that is.)

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    “You’re starting to get the feeling that Nashville is teetering on the line of a full blown meltdown and they certainly have a cast of characters not to disappoint.”

    Well… Maybe…The Hawks D frustrated Nash throughout the third. The Preds were certainly on the verge of losing their shiat today, but it only takes one goal to turn things around. They can make adjustments too.

    • ZigZags82

      I mean you saw the Ribeiro stuff. It’s teetering. We can get to them Tuesday and take a hold.

      • Jim

        The Hawks are way under their skin. And the Preds are frustrated. This is an excellent, and old technique to win. Anger and “Fight Flight” reactions actually route blood out of the pre frontal cortex (where cognitive and reasoned thought occur) and into the limbs, along with an adrenalin surge. This actually significantly lowers your IQ. However, in the case of Ribiero, IQ is a relative measure.

  • TitanTransistor

    “The Hawks are almost embarrassingly deep at forward. Are there any other playoff teams that are choosing between the likes of Antoine Vermette and a rookie phenom on a nightly basis?”

    Nah, most (though not all) other teams tend to dress their best players every night.

    My hope for game 4 is that the abysmal 2nd line is reworked, since it’s been about as effective as everybody with a modicum of foresight expected it to be.

    • ZigZags82

      I mean, I think it’s fair to say, that the Hawks are one of the deepest teams in the league again along with the Rangers. Rolling 4 lines. Every other team puts their best players and forwards out there, doesn’t mean they’re all effective.

      I’d say every Hawk fits a specific role and there’s a good responsible balance, along with 2 forwards to spare!

    • rhodes

      23-91-88 did some damage for a long stretch before Kane’s injury (remember back when everyone liked Versteeg? ah, good times…). They didn’t do much today, but I’d like to see them get another go at it.

    • RMM

      The peanut butter guy made the right decision to put 11 in there today . And he made the right choice for goalie as well. Superior coaching? Yes between Q Dineen and Kitch we are sitting pretty good .

      2 down 14 to go.

      • Jim

        Yes, now can they please fix the power play.

        • Sopel the catfish

          I posted the solution the other day, send out six skaters for the face off following the penalty and take the bench minor, it’s now 4 on 4 and the captain will win the draw.

  • ahbach

    Great wrap! And although I only watched about half the game, I gotta say that not once did I have a ‘What the hell Rozsival!’ moment.

    • So, put him in a glass case and save him for later. As Q is doing with his deep forward core, lets get midevel on them!

  • Oldfarthawkfan

    What got Hoosa so upset with Stalberg at the end of the first period. I never saw him so upset. If it wasn’t Hossa slew footing (like Shaw) there would be endless comments about what a stupid play at a critical time (score was tied at the time).

    • Stalberg is a prick, never like that guy!

      • rhodes

        …all you young hockey players out there. Hey, is that soft serve….

    • rhodes

      There was a bit of pushing and showing at the opposite blue line before Hossa chased him down, but even on the replay it didn’t look like Stalberg did anything unusual. Pretty uncharacteristic of Hossa to lose his cool. It was a dumb penalty.

  • Icdws

    Good summation, especially the need to return to the high toss-flip to get the puck past the Preds d. Overall the best performance by Hawks since the 4-1 drubbing of Kings last month. Room for improvement remains in getting puck out of their zone and forcing Preds d off the line.

    My son took me to the game and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at the crowd. All the NSH nonsense about keeping hawks fans out of the arena and cheering during the anthem backfired. For a playoff crowd they were vocal, into the game and mostly understood what was going on. In the past playoff games I’ve been to the fans were mostly band wagoners. It wa a most enjoyable game. Not to say there weren’t some fans that missed the play. My favorite repeated cry was hey are you passing it over there? There’s nobody there!

    Personnel moves worked but should not end. Bring back TT bench versteeg. Rolling the dice to think Rozival can string two “not horrendous” games Ina row, but that may be asking to much. Stay with Darling, he is reading Preds well.

    • ZigZags82

      Are you talking about a Hawks game at the UC? How did cheering at the UC backfire? And of course Hawks fans are knowledgeable…..I’m confused

      • Icdws

        No, I was talking about NSH efforts to prevent hawks fans from traveling to NSH and cheering there. Regular season Hawks fans are mostly knowledgable. However, in the playoffs newcomers attend in greater numbers and frequently show their inexperience. Yesterday was more raucous than some playoff games in the past. It was a good thing.

  • Stockroom Snail

    I thought the ‘Hawks play behind the net was huge. Shots from the blueline get consistently blocked but when they got the puck behind the net they did a good job of finding guys to fire on Rinne.

  • To Saad be the glory

    OMG,Bollig just scored a goal,let the pigeons loose!

    • Sopel the catfish

      and then Vancouver followed with pretty much the only goal I’ve ever like that was scored by a Canuck, since there is no chance that first goal could be the GWG.

      • WookRN

        Then he landed a cross check. Back to normal.

    • rhodes

      This Flames/Nucks game is fun to watch. Calgary is physically beating the snot out of Van AND they’re up on the scoreboard.

      • Sopel the catfish

        And they are going to play each other at least 2 more times. Playoff hockey rocks.

        • rhodes

          Jesus, Gaudreau looks tiny out there. He’s listed at 5′ 9″ 150lbs. At that size, you better know how to avoid a check.

    • rhodes

      Tomorrow, Hamhuis is going to get suspended for his hit on Bennett. Clearly targeted his head with his shoulder. The only thing that might save him is Bennett shook it off.

      Calgary is physically destroying Vancouver in this game. The Nucks are trying to retaliate with cheap shots, going to the box, and Calgary is taking advantage. It’s beautiful to watch.

      • Sopel the catfish

        Bieksa playing like the giant bag of dicks that he is

        • rhodes

          Bieksa is a prick. But in the shadow of Burrows in that category.

          I’m glad no one I care about is playing in this series. Someone is going to get killed before its over.

          • Sopel the catfish

            Canucks play in the third period shows that even though Gillis and Vigneault are gone they still have a good douchey core.

          • rhodes

            Yes, Vancouver is very deep in douche.

  • ExOnMS

    It’s a pretty bold move to write nearly 300 words on a goalie situation, and then chalk it up to….

    “As a team, the Hawks in the Toews era have never really cared who is in net and neither should you.”

    • It’s gonna be OK, you probably need to go to bed now for your Monday morning start!

      • ExOnMS

        What? That has nothing to do with my comment.

        When someone writes a decent amount of words on a goalie situation, it would be nice to finish it up after the game with a little more than one line. That’s all I meant.

        • Offended? FUCK YOU!
          It’s a celebration Bitch’s, HAWKS WIN!

          • WookRN


          • ExOnMS

            Clearly not the person I was hoping to discuss with. You were definitely right, one of us needs to go to bed.

          • WookRN

            I’m gonna assume that dude is drunk….

          • And retired!

    • rhodes

      I know this wasn’t where you were going with your comment, but it made me think… with all the hand wringing over Crawford, it’s taken attention away from the fact that Rinne has looked very human in this series, so far.

      • Guest

        For some reason, Crawford’s play always draws more attention than the other team. Remember against Boston in the finals, he let in 5. But Rask lets in 6 in the same game and nobody says a word about his play.

        • rhodes

          It doesn’t take much either for the criticism to start. Crawford’s 1st period in game 1 wasn’t all on him. I think Q pulled him more because the team in general was playing poorly and needed a kick. And in game 2, I thought he was playing ok at first and then kind of lost his concentration in the 3rd for some reason. So, really just one bad period.

          Maybe that’s looking at things too optimistically (no, I am not his dad), but you can hardly call Crawford’s recent play a pattern of failure.

  • Preacher

    Rinne’s given up 10 goals so far, including a 3-goal lead in game 1. Goalie controversy? And what about his weak blocker? And how many 5-hole goals?
    Why is Crow the only one who gets heavily scrutinized on this stuff?

    • Sopel the catfish

      Because Crow has never won the Cup, unlike Pekka the Great

      • WookRN

        I love the smell of sarcasm in the morning.

    • rhodes

      I’m waiting for the NBC commentators to start the “weak blocker” story line on Rinne.

  • margincall

    can someone tell me why theres no gripe about the UC being the quiet est deadest arena in the league?? This “Madhouse” on Madison thing is such a PR farce. Anyone notice how much more loud other arenas are? Come on people.. If you going to go to a game and bury your face in your ishit all night give tickets to some kids. This corporate crowd that comes no to be there only to be seen is annoying.

    • Meh

      Not sure which UC you were in but it was deafening during the anthem, after goals, and after good PKs and shifts….

      • margincall

        Ahhh. UC on Madison. Same as the Lyric Opera which it is. Quit acting like sheep cause simon says . Yea. You get your anthem and them 3 hours of hearing one person whistling deafening silence. The place is the Morgue on Madison not the Madhouse.. Thats just Cub marketing to ones that cant think

        • Bob in EP

          Welcome to America. Your local community college offers English As A Second Language classes for free.

  • T.M.

    “As a team, the Hawks in the Toews era have never really cared who is in net and neither should you.”- I think you forgot marty turco or Khabibulin in net last year

  • meme gene okerlund

    Will the league review Ribiero’s tough guy shit for a fine or suspension? Or will it just be written off as PLAYOFF INTENSITY (since nobody was injured or carted off)