Hawks Downed by Preds 5-2, Toews Possibly Hurt

After one of their most complete wins of the season the night before, the Chicago Blackhawks couldn't muster up much of anything and suffered a 5-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.

With Detroit and St. Louis both winning, the Blackhawks lost two key points to another team nipping at their heels in the Central division.

Corey Crawford got the start in net after Emery's win last night against the Panthers.

Despite getting outplayed for most of the first period, Marian Hossa was the first to break through. Fifteen minutes in, he coralled the puck at the blue line and made a couple nifty moves, turning Predators defenseman Shea Weber into a turnstile and putting a backhand past Pekka Rinne. Hossa's goal extends his current point streak to eight.

From then on, the Predators took control.

Two minutes after Hossa's goal, Nashville countered with a power play goal from Craig Smith, who jumped all over a Crawford rebound.

The 2nd period saw the Predators put their foot on the accelarator and punch it. After a goal was waived off due to being played by a high stick, Kevin Klein dumped a puck into towards Crawford from nearly center ice and it took a couple funny bounces in front of Crawford, deflecting off the post and in past his glove. The goal completely deflated the team.

Six minutes later, a failed clear from Nick Leddy turned into a goal by Colin Wilson and five minutes later, Sergei Kostitsyn found himself on a breakaway, netting one past Crawford and putting the Predators up 4-1.

That was all for Crawford, who got pulled for Ray Emery. Crawford stopped 13 of the 17 shots he saw.

Moments after Emery entered the game, the Blackhawks again turned the puck over in the offensive zone, resulting in another breakaway for Nashville. This time, Emery was up to the task and kept things within reach for Chicago.

The Blackhawks showed signs of life as Marian Hossa netted his 2nd of the game just 48 seconds into the 3rd period. His two goals on the night were his 19th and 20th on the season.

Less than three minutes later, the Predators once again burst the Blackhawks bubble, when Kevin Klein sent a slapshot through two screens and in the net. Patric Hornqvist was credited with the goal on a deflection in front.

The last 17 minutes of the period resulted in little offensive production by the Blackhawks. The Hawks were simply outhustled, outhit, outskated and outplayed overall for 60 minutes.

Perhaps the bigger story for Chicago is the absence of Jonathan Toews. He didn't come out on the bench with the team in the 3rd period. His last shift of the game came with eight minutes remaining in the 2nd period. UPDATE: Coach Joel Quenneville said Toews is day-to-day with an upper body injury. It may be safe to assume it has to do with the hand/wrist injury he sustained last night after being slashed by the Panthers' Erik Gudbranson.

The possibility of losing Jonathan Toews, on top of already missing Patrick Sharp, would be devastating for the Blackhawks. Not only is he 2nd in the league in goals scored, he's a Selke Award candidate due to his incredible play on both ends of the ice.

The loss snapped the Blackhawks streak of getting at least one point in seven straight games and it was their first regulation loss since January 6th vs the Colorado Avalanche. The Blackhawks were outshot 23-22 in the contest.

 

Three Stars:

#3 Marian Hossa (2 G)

#2 Sergei Kostitsyn (1 G, 1 A)

#1 Kevin Klein (1 G, 1 A)

 

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