Blackhawks suffer 7-2 loss in Nashville; head home to face Sharks on Sunday
It's not often that the Blackhawks give up a handful or more goals to the Predators. Prior to tonight's 7-2 loss, Chicago last gave up 6 or more goals to Nashville on March 25, 2012.
The Predators made it 2-0 in less than a minute when Matt Cullen and Nick Spaling both scored in the middle of the first period.
After the second goal, Blackhawks goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was injured; Corey Crawford came in to play the rest of the game.
Nashville would stretch their lead to 3-0 with a power play goal 9:02 into the second, and then make it 4-0 with less than two minutes left in the frame.
Patrick Kane broke the shutout shortly after to get the Blackhawks on the board, 4-1. Brandon Pirri would halve the lead just over six minutes into the third, making it 4-2, but it took just 15 seconds for Viktor Stalberg to stretch the Predators' lead back to 3.
The Blackhawks would not score again, and Mike Fisher and Shea Weber would add goals in the third to make the final score 7-2.
Chicago was sloppy defensively, including 8 giveaways and just 36% FOW, as well as turning the puck over regularly. Despite outshooting the Predators 41-30 (plus another 35 attempted/blocked shots), they had almost nothing to show for their effort. The Predators outhit and outworked them.
After the game, Coach Quenneville stated, "We were very generous and gifting tonight. It was a free night for them offensively; we were very gracious."
He also stated that Khabibulin could be out "a bit". In that event, it is most likely that Finnish netminder Antti Raanta, who is 7-5-0 in 14 games with 2.83 GAA and .914 sv%, would be called up from the Rockford IceHogs. Raanta had a 4-2 victory over the San Antonio Rampage on Saturday night in Rockford.
Predators rookie Marek Mazanec (2 GAA, .951 sv%) recorded his first NHL victory with the win.
Corey Crawford didn't offer any excuses in the loss, saying he felt good and there is no fatigue from his heavy workload, but it was clear he was frustrated with the evening - breaking his stick over the goal after one of the Predators' final goals.
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The Blackhawks return home to face the San Jose Sharks on Sunday evening.
San Jose (13-2-5) is second in the competitive Pacific division. The Sharks will be playing their fifth road game since November 10th; they have gone 3-0-1 so far on the trip, including two overtime wins and a shootout loss.
Blackhawks fans will get their first look at Czech rookie sensation Tomas Hertl, who leads all rookies with 18 points (12G/6A; +9) in 20 games.
Antti Niemi (10-2-5; 2.13 GAA, .918 sv%) is expected to start in net for the Sharks.
Game time & location: Sunday, Nov. 17th - 6pm CDT, United Center, Chicago
View the game on WGN-Chicago or CSN-California.