Hawks win 2-1 in OT against the Nashville Predators

The Blackhawks came into the game off of a frustrating overtime loss to the Calgary Flames. They had close to 50 shots on goal with only one actual goal in the game and as this game wore on it was beginning to have that same feeling as the game against Calgary. The Hawks had 37 shots against Nashville, this time though the results were much different.

Again Corey Crawford was great in the Blackhawks net and kept them in the game when the Predators were surging in the third period. Surprisingly, it was not Pekke Rinne in the Preadtors nets but a name that Blackhawks and IceHogs fans should be very familiar with Carter Hutton.  Hutton has manned many a IceHogs net and Hawks net as well in his time here.

The Predators were coming in for the second game of a back to back having just won up in Winnipeg the net before where Rinne posted a shut out. Why coach Peter Laviolette selected the goaltenders the way he did we are not really sure, other than maybe he felt Hutton was more familiar with the Hawks or out of the two games a more sure fire win was against the Jets. Either way everything worked out for the Hawks.

The Hawks scored early in the first period on a blast from the inside the blue line on the near side faceoff circle from Johnny Oduya. Oduya was given way too much room due to the Hawks catching the Preds in a line change. Niklas Hjalmarsson from clear across the ice by the benches made a pin point backhand pass that caught all the Predators on the other side of the ice leaving Oduya with forever to skate in and blast one past Hutton five hole. Hutton probably wants this one back. Bryan Bickell got the other assist.

The brilliant play of Johnny Oduya tagging up at the blue line to keep the play onside should be noted. Had he not made a slight hesitation move he would have been offside with all the glorious ice real estate in front of him.

The Hawks dominated the play in the first but again they could not capitalize on their own power play chances to distance themselves from Nashville and ended the game going 0 for 5 with the extra man. The Predators however did cash in on their man advantages.

They had a five on three opportunity and just as the one penalty was expiring Shea Weber was able to rocket one past a completely screened Corey Crawford high over the shoulder glove side to tie the score.

From that point on there was no scoring in what was a defensive battle. Even though the Predators have a new bench boss they are still primarily a defense first team and in fact more aggressive with their forecheck which seemed to stop the Hawks from really getting anything going offensively. Again it was the fourth line of Kruger, Carcillo and alternating between Smith and Morin that seemed to get the best chances.

The game ended in regulation still tied but in overtime Patrick Sharp got called for tripping penalty. In OT there are only four players not including goalies to begin with so now the Hawks were down to three. Those three were Hjalmarsson, Oduya and the captain Jonny Toews and as it turned out that was all that was needed.

Jonathan Toews along the far boards near the Hawks blue line was able to strip the Nashville player of the puck and was off to the races on a breakaway. Anyone who watches the Hawks knows the captain doesn’t miss on those opportunities and he didn’t on this one either.

He went five hole on Hutton who initially stopped the puck but was in an awkward position and the puck was still sitting there for Toews to knock in again past Hutton to end the game in OT 2-1. This was the first shorthanded goal in OT in the regular season ever in the Blackhawks history and the first time in over 100 games that the Nashville Predators gave up a shortie.

If it was anyone other than Toews we would be going on and on about the brilliant defensive play to strip the puck but then to score as well but this is captain “I do everything” we are talking about so it is your typical Jonathan Toews taking over the game.

The game was not pretty but a win is a win. This team is pretty enough it might actually be a good thing that they see they can win ugly. It also was good to win against a divisional foe which was something last year they struggled with.

The Hawks do not play now again until Tuesday and all this time off is wearing on them. If the team can survive this slow scheduled start things should get better. The power play needs work and the Hawks really are still figuring out working with each other and have not hit their stride and they are still winning. Once they figure things out look out. Next victim um, opponent is the Philadelphia Flyers.


Three Stars of the game:

1.     J. Toews

2.      J. Oduya

3.     C. Hutton

Next game Tuesday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m. CDT  vs the Philadelphia Flyers. Tune in to CSN in Chicago or NBCSN outside Chicago; or listen via radio on WGN AM720.

Follow our Blackhawks team at @TCLBlackhawks; you can follow me on twitter at @sportshashhash