Reichel records first career point in 4–3 heartbreaker

  

The Chicago Blackhawks came into Saturday afternoon’s affair having taken down the San Jose Sharks on Thursday night in Pat Foley’s final game of his legendary career and looked to put up back-to-back wins with a victory against the Nashville Predators. Lineup changes saw Erik Gustafsson, Tyler Johnson and Dominik Kubalik coming into the lineup, with Kirby Dach, Calvin de Haan and Philipp Kurashev coming out of the lineup. Kevin Lankinen got the start in net.

First period

Unlike the previous game, it did not take long for the Blackhawks to get down early in this one. What seemed like a simple, get-into-the-zone-and-get-a-shot-on-net play somehow turned into a goal for Nashville. With three and a half minutes gone in the frame, the Predators entered the zone, with Philip Tomasino simply getting the puck to the middle, and Eeli Tolvanen got the puck and one-timed it past Lankinen to make it 1–0 Predators.

Just about five minutes later, the Blackhawks broke out of the defensive zone, with Patrick Kane and Dylan Strome getting a 2-on-1 opportunity down the ice. Kane elected to shoot, and wristed the puck past Juuse Saros to tie the game up at 1–1.

With just over a minute remaining in the period, the Predators got another great chance, with Tolvanen getting the puck from the corner to a streaking Tomasino, with Lankinen proving up to the task and keeping the put out with a great glove save.

Second period

The Predators got some good offensive zone time in to start off this frame, with Filip Forsberg getting the puck to Matt Duchene, who could not put it past Lankinen. The Predators would get a few more chances on the Blackhawks net, with Lankinen stopping all of them with some incredible acrobatics.

The Blackhawks got a golden opportunity with just over five minutes gone in the stanza, with Lukas Reichel getting his first NHL point on the play. He got the puck over to Jake McCabe on the far side of the zone, who faked a shot and whipped it over to Kubalik, who had a wide open net to deposit the puck into, making it 2–1 Blackhawks.

With just under six minutes gone, with both teams having four men on the ice, the Predators made use of the extra space available, with Ryan Johansen getting the puck over to Roman Josi, who was up next to the net and able to just tap it past Lankinen, tying the game up at 2–2.

Then, feeling like deja vu all over again, Josi took a pass at the blue line and got into the offensive zone, wristing the puck past Lankinen, giving Nashville a 3–2 lead…BUT, it was offside, so the goal was called back, keeping the score tied up at 2–2.

The Predators would end up scoring a very gritty goal, though, before the period was over, with the whole team just fighting to get the puck to the net before it got in front to Duchene, who buried it to make it 3–2 Predators for real this time.

Third period

With just over three minutes gone in the third, the Predators broke into the offensive zone, with Mattias Ekholm ending up with the puck. He took a shot that was intentionally going wide, but Mikael Granlund was right there next to the net with a beautiful tip to put it past Lankinen, making it 4–2 in favor of the Predators.

The Blackhawks would trade chances for a while with the Predators, with both goalies proving up to the task to keep the shots that were coming in on net.

With just over five and a half minutes remaining, the Blackhawks managed to get one on goal, with Kane stealing most eyes his direction, allowing Riley Stillman to sneak in unnoticed and put the puck past a diving Saros, getting the Blackhawks to within one, and the score 4–3.

Unfortunately, that was as close as the comeback bid came, as the Predators prevented anything further from coming close to going in. The Predators hung on, giving the Blackhawks yet another loss in what has been a very disappointing season.

Analysis

The Blackhawks played a very disappointing defensive game, and in many others this season, making it very difficult to win games if you are already behind just two or three minutes into the first period. I also do not get the idea of playing veterans like Johnson, who has not and will not be doing anything for the Blackhawks this year over someone who needs to stay in the lineup to get some confidence back, like Kurashev, especially as these games do not matter and Kurashev could not have had less of an impact in this game than Johnson did.

In every way, the team needs to commit to this rebuild if that is what has been determined. Hopefully that will mean seeing other veterans moved out this offseason for more prospects, and we will see the Blackhawks rebound sooner than later into a contender.

The Blackhawks play next on Monday night against the red-hot Calgary Flames—winners of six of their last seven—at the United Center. Game time is 7 p.m. CDT on NBC Sports Chicago.

Center Ice Forums Reichel records first career point in 4–3 heartbreaker

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