The Runner Sports

Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators – Game Two Recap

The Chicago Blackhawks lost Game 2 of the Western Conference first round on Saturday night and find themselves down 2-0 heading to Nashville for the next two games.

Nothing went right for the Blackhawks in Game 2, as the defense was considerably worse than it was in Game 1, allowing five goals to the Nashville Predators.

The trade deadline acquisition of Johnny Oduya hasn’t looked like a great one through two playoff games. He was burned time and time again by the Predator forwards and, frankly, he wasn’t the only one.

The Blackhawks’ defensemen as a whole weren’t good in this game. Brent Seabrook played poorly near the blueline, allowing the Nashville forwards to get in behind and get solid chances against Corey Crawford. Oduya was clearly showing his age and, at 35, might not have enough in the tank to be a positive factor for Chicago in these playoffs.

Offensively, it was more of the same that you saw in Game 1. The Blackhawks got better forward pressure in the offensive zone early, but as soon as the Predators gained a lead on a Ryan Ellis goal in the first period, Chicago had a much tougher time carrying the puck into the neutral zone.

Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne had another pretty easy game as a whole. Chicago’s forwards did a poor job of getting to the net and screening him, making his job of facing shots from the point relatively easy. Against a quality goaltender like Rinne, the Blackhawks have to have some semblance of a net-front presence in order to give the puck a chance of going in.

Looking at some individual play, one stat for the Chicago Blackhawks really stands out and that’s the 5v5 numbers with Ryan Hartman on the ice. With Hartman on the ice, Nashville had the shot advantage 19-1 (via Natural Stat Trick), which is an absolutely unacceptable stat considering how solid Hartman was during the regular season.

More should be written about captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but the two franchise forwards didn’t do much to warrant many words. Toews had a wonderful opportunity that rung the post in the first period, but was quiet after that, and Kane looked shaky at times, committing a very poor cross-checking penalty in the second period.

Nothing seems to be clicking for the Chicago Blackhawks and a 5-0 loss in a playoff game at the United Center is extremely concerning. Down 2-0, heading to Nashville, and yet to light the lamp in this series, the Blackhawks are against the ropes right now. Something has to change for this Chicago team, otherwise the top seed in the Western conference is going to have a very early exit in these playoffs.

Tyler Berry

Tyler Berry

Tyler is a digital marketing coordinator moonlighting as a sports writer. He is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Pacers and Chicago White Sox fan, and has followed the Blackhawks even before Kane and Toews were drafted.
Tyler Berry