Preds Rally Back, Fall Short to Blackhawks 5-4

Alexander Radulov, David Legwand, & Roman Josi fight puck control.

After the captivating win over the Red Wings in Detroit last night, the Predators hit the road (err, airways?) with the wind in their sails, banking on another win tonight against Chicago at home in Nashville. In the six games that Nashville and Chicago have played one another, Chicago was only able to sneak one passed this Predators, and even then, it was in OT. However, after completely humiliating the Blackhawks in Chicago last Sunday 6-1, Chicago was chomping at the bit to bestow the same humiliation on the Predators in Nashville. Nashville has already sealed their playoff spot, but Chicago is still clawing up that ladder. With a win in Nashville, the Blackhawks would get their coveted playoff spot… even more reason to win tonight.

KEY POINTS:

  • The scratched list was long once again tonight, with Colin Wilson, Brian McGrattan, Jack Hillen, Craig Smith, and Ryan Ellis making the list. Although he returned briefly, Colin seems to be still suffering from a “groin” injury. With as well as Bourque and the return of Roman Josi, Craig Smith might be taking a few games off for a while.
  • Chicago drew blood first at 3:25 in the first with a power play goal from Patrick Sharp, his 32nd goal of the season. His back-hander passed Pekka would be the only goal of the first period.
  • Chicago wasted no time in the 2nd Period either, with Dave Bolland sinking another power play goal at 1:05 for his 19th goal of the season.
  • Patrick Kane would put Chicago up 3-0 at 6:50 with a wrist shot passed Pekka for his 21st goal of the season.
  • Viktor Stalberg would only fuel the fire at 8:35, sinking his 20th goal of the season in the 2nd Period.
  • At 9:29, the Predators finally found their groove and Martin Erat hit a wrist shot passed Corey Crawford for his 19th goal of the season. Ryan Suter (37th assist) and Mike Fisher (26th assist) picked up the assists on the power play goal.
  • Nashville would continue to fire back, with a snap shot goal from Shea Weber, his 18th goal of the season. Ryan Suter picked up his 38th assist along with Andrei Kostitsyn (18th assist).
  • The 3rd Period started out in favor of the Predators, with a backhanded goal from Alexander Radulov, his first goal at home after returning to Nashville (3rd goal of the season). David Legwand (33rd assist) and Kevin Klein (15th assist) picked up the assists on A-Rad’s goal.
  • Shea Weber would pick up his second goal of the night at 7:10 on the power play, his 19th goal of the season. Ryan Suter picked up his third assist of the night (39th assist) and David Legwand picked up his second (34th assist) of the night.
  • Although tied 4-4, Chicago wasn’t going to let Nashville sneak passed yet again and, at 8:19, Brent Seabrook sent a snap shot passed Pekka Rinne, putting the Blackhawks up by one (his 9th goal of the season).
  • It’s hard for Trotzie to decide whether to sit Pekka on nights like tonight, especially after playing such a physical game like last night in Detroit. Unfortunately, since Detroit and Chicago are both vying for potential playoff spots, Nashville can’t afford but anything but the best in front of their net. It was clear Peks was drained from last night’s game, but he still made an incredible effort, blocking 32 of 37 shots on goal. The Predators were, of course, out-shot 33 to 37, but you can’t help but be impressed by their effort to come back late in the 2nd Period and tying the game after being down 4-0.
  • Penalties were Nashville’s downfall tonight (well, along with some other elements). Chicago gave Nashville four power play chances, two of which the Predators were able to capitalize on. Nashville, on the other hand, gave Chicago six power play chances, two of which Chicago used to their advantage. Okay, so technically, Nashville used their power plays better, but penalties hurt nonetheless. Here are your penalty box boppers:
  1. Matt Halischuk – 1:38 1st Period – Hi-Sticking
  2. Paul Gaustad – 10:27 1st Period – Roughing
  3. David Legwand – 19:48 1st Period – Hooking
  4. Martin Erat – 13:13 2nd Period – Slashing
  5. Gabriel Bourque – 16:46 2nd Period – Tripping
  6. Alexander Radulov – 19:52 3rd Period – Hooking

A rough loss for Nashville tonight at home, allowing the Blackhawks to finally clinch their own playoff spot. However, considering Nashville has beaten the Blackhawks four times out six (gaining a point from one loss in overtime), you have give credit to the Predators for proving to be the better team overall this season. After coming back from being down by four goals, you have to admit, even after whipping Detroit’s butt last night, the Predators still had some kick in their step.

The Predators finish up the remainder of the regular season this week, with the Minnesota Wild coming in on Tuesday and the Dallas Stars venturing to Nashville on Thursday. The Predators last regular season game is on Saturday against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.

Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

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