The Blackhawks played their season finale game with the Predators after a decisive 6–1 win versus the Dallas Stars on Friday. Patrick Kane looked to tie his season-high in goals, after picking up two more in that win to bring his total to 44 on the year. Chicago was looking to end their season on a high note, and, while not making the playoffs this season, playing better in general than the season prior. Since late January, the Blackhawks have gone 20–9–3, with a 27.3 power play percentage, and since getting Corey Crawford back, have enjoyed solid goaltending overall from all three goalies. They were hoping to keep the roll going against the stingy Preds, who always present a difficult defensive team to play against.
The lines were as follows:
The Blackhawks started off looking pretty rough, allowing a barrage of shots on goal and not being able to get the puck out of their zone for much of the first two minutes. Ward, however, stood tall and stopped every last one of the first five or so shots. Then, DeBrincat took the puck away in the defensive zone, taking the puck up and dumping it in. After a board battle, he passed the puck behind him to Strome, who passed a deflected puck in front to Perlini, who was able to put it past Pekka Rinne into the back of the net at the 2:58 mark to make it 1–0 Blackhawks.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) April 7, 2019
With five minutes gone in the period, Anisimov took a pass from Kahun and put a wrist shot on net that beat Rinne, but drew iron. The Predators were putting on some pressure after that, including a wide open Wayne Simmonds coming in and getting a shot on Ward, who stopped it with a glove save. He kept doing the same for the next few minutes, stopping shot after shot that Nashville put on goal. Then, at the 10:07 mark, the Blackhawks came down the ice, dumping the puck into the corner. Kane had great patience in waiting for the right moment to make a pass, getting it across to Caggiula who one-timed it past Rinne to give Chicago a 2–0 lead.
Kane to Caggiula for Goal Number ✌️ of the period vs. Smashville!
— Blackhawks Talk (@NBCSBlackhawks) April 7, 2019
The Predators got a good amount of pressure on Ward after that for the next couple of minutes, but were not able to get many shots on the net itself. Then, at the 17:33 mark of the period, Kyle Turris took a slashing call to give the Blackhawks their first power play opportunity of the evening. They were not able to get very many opportunities on Rinne and failed to convert, with the period ending with a 2–0 Blackhawks lead.
The Blackhawks and Predators started off with a lot of passing back and forth to begin the period, with a lot of shots around both nets, but nothing to show for it. Caggiula and Roman Josi got into it after an offside whistle, with Josi taking Caggiula down and Caggiula retaliating with a slash to Josi’s leg, but no calls were made. With 12:10 left in the period, Saad came streaking down the ice in a two-on-one, getting a shot off that was stopped by Rinne. At the 9:07 mark of the period, the puck was kept in at the line and passed to Dante Fabbro, who put the puck past Ward for his first goal in the National Hockey League, cutting the Blackhawks’ lead to 2–1. The Preadators also got some really good shots in on Ward shortly after that, with all of them being stopped. Keith put a good hit on Craig Smith coming into the zone, knocking him down at the blue line. At the 13:41 mark of the period, Jonathan Toews took a hooking penalty, which the Blackhawks killed off with the help of some big saves from Ward again. The Blackhawks took another penalty after that at 16:43 for too many men on the ice, which was served by Strome. After the penalty expired, at the 18:50 mark of the period, the Predators kept the puck in the zone and a Filip Forsberg shot deflected off of the stick of another Predators player in front of the net, making the score 2–2 going into the intermission.
— Blackhawk Warriors (@ChippyHawksFans) April 7, 2019
The third period started in much the same way as period two, with both goalies making some good saves and both teams generally going back and forth with the puck up and down the ice. The Blackhawks took another delayed penalty at the 3:01 mark of the period, with Hayden going off for a slash. This time, the Predators got a goal on a quick break in by Viktor Arvidsson, who wristed the puck past Ward, giving the Predators a 3–2 lead at the 3:33 mark of the period.
Look at the air Arvidsson got on that celly! pic.twitter.com/rty0utmYNg
— NHL GIFs (@NHLGIFs) April 7, 2019
After some good Blackhawks chances, the Predators’ Dan Hamhuis took a holding penalty to give the opposition another two-minute power play, which was killed off despite some good chances from the Blackhawks. The Predators played good defense and were able to keep the Blackhawks’ chances to a minimum, allowing only a few shots on goal in the few minutes after that, with an Anisimov chance being the best of the bunch and still getting stopped by Rinne. Ward was pulled at the 17:39 mark of the period, and, just a few seconds later, Colton Sissons put the puck into the back of the net, wristing the puck from center into the back of the net and giving the Predators a 4–2 lead. Then, with under one minute to play, Nick Bonino broke into the Blackhawks’ zone with little pressure and put the puck past Ward to make it a 5–2 game, handing the Hawks the loss in their last game in the 2018–19 season.