In what has been a truly amazing year the Blackhawks ended their regular season at the United Center in the fashion that they began – winning. The game was really never in doubt from the moment the puck dropped on the Indianhead at center ice.
Like the past couple of games, again the Blackhawks had little to play for except that this group of extraordinary athletes has set a standard for themselves which they have not faltered from all season.
The Hawks jumped on top of the Flames early and often. The score could have been much higher save bounces not going the Hawks way. They completely dominated the Flames in the first period.
Friday night's game was not the Blackhawks' best - they coughed up 4 goals against the offensively-challenged Nashville (29th in league - average 2.27 goals/game). Chicago is on their way to their first Presidents' Trophy since 1991, and the Predators have already been eliminated.
Five of Chicago's games have come against the Predators this season, and the Blackhawks swept the Nashville series, including two shutouts against them.
At the end of the night, it was a familiar scenario: Marian Hossa putting in the overtime winner to give the Blackhawks a 5-4 win, making long-time fans remember a certain first-round game vs the Preds back in 2010.
Chicago had shut out Nashville on home ice on Saturday; the Predators came to the United Center on Sunday hoping to return the favor.
The Blackhawks took Sunday's game 5-3 in regulation, and in doing so, also clinched the first berth in the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs. They continue to lead the league with 62 points.
Sunday's match was a low-penalty game; both teams are well aware of the other's ability to seize on mistakes and make opponents pay. The Predators took a too-many-men penalty in the first with a bad line change; and Andrew Shaw collected an unsportsmanlike conduct in the second.
The story of the night was the strong play of Chicago...
The league leading Chicago Blackhawks (27-5-4) visit their Central Division rival Nashville Predators (15-15-8) in the front end of a home and home series today at 2pm CST.
Nashville, winners in just one of their previous five, are four points out of the
final playoff spot in the West with just ten games remaining and will likely end the season on the outside looking in. While four points in ten games is certainly not an insurmountable deficit, the shortened season's intraconference schedule makes it extremely probable that the Predators will only be playing spoiler down the stretch this year.
The Chicago Blackhawks head home to Madison Street as they face off against the Nashville Predators. This will be one of three meetings the teams will have this week.
The Blackhawks are coming off of a 7-1 drubbing of the Detroit Red Wings. The strength of the minor league system was on full display. Jeremy Morin and Brandon Saad made key contributions in yesterday’s win.
The Predators are led by defensemen Shea Weber, Roman Josi and forward Martin Erat. The Blackhawks continue to get strong play from Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Saad.
The Blackhawks continue to be among the league leaders in goals for and ...
The Blackhawks took their record to 20-0-3 on Tuesday night, and set a new team record while they were at it: for the first time in 86 years of team history, the Blackhawks have won 10 games in a row.
It was a special night in Chicago to begin with. The team celebrated Marian Hossa's 1,000th career game (played Sunday in Detroit) with a short pre-game ceremony. Hossa was presented with a silver hockey stick to commemorate his achievement as well as a painting of him hoisting the Stanley Cup; chants of "Hos-sa, Hos-sa," rained down from the rafters.
After that, it was time to get down and play hockey.
While Hollywood was celebrating its cinematic achievements, Chicago was celebrating another Blackhawks regulation victory. The win was not a masterpiece but, it was a win that garnered the Hawks two more points. It continued their incredible run of points and separation from the rest of the pack. Their record now goes to 15-0-3.
If this game were a movie, it could easily be called The Return of the Shutout Man. Corey Crawford was easily the best Hawk on the ice and turned in his second shutout of this abbreviated season. Crawford stopped all 28 shots that came his way. He did get support from his co-stars.
Most noticeably on defense was Nik Hjalmarsson who c...