Along the boards: Blackhawks down Predators, 2–1 in overtime

  

The Blackhawks are in a state of disarray. As the trade deadline approaches, this team looks like they are in fact a seller as the playoffs look like a long-lost dream for this franchise.

After a tough loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks were on home ice once again against the Nashville Predators for some Margaritaville Friday night action at the United Center.

Notably, Corey Crawford started for the Blackhawks and Erik Gustafsson was a healthy scratch. Lehner has been rumored to be potentially dealt, but it seems that Gustafsson’s days in Chicago are numbered as the deadline approaches.

The first period yielded nothing for either team. However, the Blackhawks did play some quality hockey during the first period. They outshot the visiting Predators in the first period and put together arguably their best power play in the last five games. There was a lot of good in the first period.

The best scoring chance of the period was a shorthanded breakaway for Brandon Saad. Saad drew a penalty shot but could not convert on the free chance.

After one period, the game was scoreless, but the Hawks showed a lot of promise.

In the second period, the tide turned, and it felt like a classic case of Déjà vu. The Blackhawks showed no energy in the middle frame and the Predators took advantage of it.

At the 14:56 mark on the second period, Mattias Ekholm scored to give the visitors the lead. It came to a surprise that it took this long for the Predators to score. The Preds registered 20 shots on goal in the period but only got one past Corey Crawford. “Crow” looked sensational in the middle frame and was the top reason the Blackhawks were only down one goal after 40 minutes.

The third period was fairly even early. However, the Blackhawks found momentum in the third and ultimately tied the game.

At the 9:05 mark, the power play went to work for the home team. Patrick Kane found the puck on the left-wing side and ripped a shot on net. The shot hit Alex DeBrincat and beat Pekka Rinne to tie the game at one-a-piece.

The opportunity was critical for the Blackhawks. After a dominant middle frame for Nashville, the third period yielded life for the home team and gave them a chance to strike. The power play capitalizing was critical since the man advantage was atrocious of late.

Despite the Blackhawks onslaught in the third, Pekka Rinne stood tall, especially in crunch time. With about 17 seconds left, Rinne made two massive saves that saved what looked like a guaranteed Blackhawks goal to send the game to extra time. Both goalies were incredible all night long.

Overtime provided plenty of excitement, but ultimately the hometown faithful would be rewarded.

With just over a minute remaining in the extra time, Alex DeBrincat found himself on a breakaway in the overtime period. DeBrincat beat Rinne top shelf for his second goal of the night and the overtime winner for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks won 2–1 over the Predators.

Along the boards

Tonight’s game was a well needed one for Alex DeBrincat. Two goals in this one helped inch the undersized winger closer to 20 goals on the season. This is normally a nice number for most players, but after a 41-goal season last year, DeBrincat’s play has been a bit underwhelming this season.

Corey Crawford was unbelievable in Friday’s contest. He played some of the best hockey we’ve seen all year at the goaltender position, especially in the second period when the Predators registered 20 shots and only one goal. Crawford may be the number one reason for this win over the Preds.

The trade deadline speculation is causing some hysteria in Blackhawks Twitter. Some thin Robin Lehner may be traded, others think it could be Crawford. Erik Gustafsson sat on Friday so it’s hard to believe he will not be traded also. It’s going to be an exciting few days for the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks resume play on Sunday afternoon as they travel to Dallas to take on the Stars at 2:00 p.m. CST.

Center Ice Forums Along the boards: Blackhawks down Predators, 2–1 in overtime

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