Prey: Hawks 2, Preds 5
I blame Sam Fels. He and some of the crew from Second City Hockey journeyed to Nashville to see this game in person and LOOK WHAT HAPPENED! Those bastards ruined us. I'd say Chicago might have been affected by not reaching Nashville until 3:30 this morning, but it's more fun to blame Fels.
Seriously though, that sucked. The Hawks played okay through the first period, and were even until Corey Crawford misdjudged a 100 foot dump in and let it passed him for the Preds 2nd goal. The wheels then completely fell off as the Hawks went into a shell and gave up two more goals in the period thanks to defensive lapses.
The problem is, they couldn't afford this. Both St. Louis and Detroit won, and with Nashville's victory, the Central Division now has 4 teams with 60 points or more. There are only 5 teams with 60 points in the rest of the NHL. And thanks to the seeding preference for Division winners, that means that the Central is a dogfight for the 1st and 4th seeds in the playoffs (although at this point the 6th or 7th spot and a date with one of the weaker division winners might seem preferable). We thought that by piling up points early in the season, Chicago might be able to take it a bit easier down the stretch, saving the legs of their top players for the postseason. But with Detroit being Detroit, and Ken Hitchcock resurrecting the Blues, it appears that won't be the case. Buckle up kids, the regular season may be exciting after all.
Marian Hossa scored two goals, one beauty where he turned Shea Weber inside out and scored on a backhander and a second on a breakaway when he was cherry picking during the third period.
Jebus, we're gonna need a bigger boat in this section.
Corey Crawford. That second goal can't happen. Not tonight. Not in a divisional game with Detroit and St. Louis playing inferior competition. Crawford hadn't been real good to that point of the game (rebounds everywhere), but after that second goal, the wheels came off.
Leddy/Hjalmarsson - Crawford wasn't good, but you can hang the Predators third goal squarely on this pair. First, Leddy failed on an easy clearing attempt. Then, in the ensuing Nashville rush, Hjalmarsson got caught looking at the puck leaving Colin Wilson wide open for a tap in.
Jonathan Toews - not his play, but his health. Toews didn't appear on the Hawks bench after the second period, and with Patrick Sharp already on the shelf, the Hawks can hardly afford to lose their most consistent player.
Nashville, like most NHL franchises uses one of the TV time outs to honor military veterans. That's great, but they apparently choose to honor them with the playing of Lee Greenwood's abhorrent "God Bless The USA". They deserve better. We all do.
Up Next: This same Preds team will be in the UC on Tuesday. REVENGE!