Music City Mode
A gritty 2-1 Hawks victory Tuesday night in Nashville came complete with some depth scoring and phenomenal goaltending.
How about this Tomas Jurco / Vince Hinostroza / David Kampf line, though?
Vince Hinostroza was the Blackhawks’ offense in this game. He has an extra stride to his step going right now, and the puck is inevitably finding him. David Kampf’s awareness in both end zones was also noteworthy, as well. On the first goal of the night, Kampf picked up a lose puck and had the presence of mind to wire it high and hard over the shoulder of Predators goalie Juuse Saros.
About three minutes into the game, Hinostroza made a play in the neutral zone where he pulled the puck out of traffic, created space by going East-West, and walked the puck back to safety in his own zone. This allowed the Hawks to regroup and produce a play that eventually led to Kampf’s goal. The Hawks have been lacking in this safe, sure-play department all year.
Duncan Keith looked himself again in this game, as he did in Detroit. He and Jordan Oesterle went D-to-D a few times in the first period without having to make painfully direct eye-contact—a sign that they are progressing chemistry-wise as a pairing. They were both +2 on the night.
The Hawks also showed a little fire and life in this divisional game, particularly when Tommy Wingels danced with Austin Watson for a bit following a late hit that Watson unleashed on and unsuspecting Ryan Hartman.
Otherwise, there is not a whole lot of meat to this game. The two defining stories were, without question, Anton Forsberg and Vince Hinostroza. Subtract an ill-advised turnover that ended up in his own net, and Forsberg pitched a perfect shutout. His rebound control was the best we have seen in recent memory, and he did a great job of staying square to the shooters. When Forsberg plays well, he has a way of making tough saves look routine purely on positioning. It is a similar style to Carey Price (no comparison there, relax).
Forsberg stopped 42 of 43 tonight which, unfortunately, means the Blackhawks were thoroughly out shot once again, 43-31. Faceoffs went the Preds’ way too, 33-25. This painfully common theme continues to solidify the theory that if the Chicago Blackhawks have even a glimmer of hope this year, it probably lies in a healthy Corey Crawford (is that a thing?).