It Could Have Been Worse ... ? Predators 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT) - January 26, 2021

Social Navigation

It Could Have Been Worse … ? Predators 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT) – January 26, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

Sigh … the first of eight 2021 matchups (and the first of two games on back-to-back nights between the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators) goes into overtime, where a defensive breakdown by Dylan Strome and Patrick Kane gives the Predators the 3-2 win. That sucks.

In the new-look Central Division for this 2021 season, the focus for the Blackhawks was on renewing a rivalry with the Red Wings. But the animosity between the Predators and Blackhawks is still very much alive and well. It was chippy early and often and the Predators were able to control much of the game and put the pressure on Chicago to snap their three-game losing streak as well as stop the small momentum the Blackhawks had built from the weekend.

Right off the bat, the Blackhawks powerplay remains HOT. Early in the first period, Dylan Strome made it seven-straight games to start the season where the Blackhawks have scored on the man-advantage. Chicago was 1-for-2 on the night on the powerplay.

This is now the second-best start in Blackhawks franchise history on the powerplay, having scored in seven-straight games. The only team that had a better start were the 1990-91 Blackhawks, who scored a powerplay goal in the first 11 games of that season.

Malcolm Subban, much like he was in the first game of the season, was very scramble-y in net. He made 36 saves on 39 shots on the night and it wasn’t pretty at times, but got the job done when needed. The Blackhawks, in general, were scramble-y in this one, but Subban was able to do enough to keep them in it. Clearly the first-star for Chicago tonight.

Saving the Blackhawks was Mattias Janmark in the second period, or as Pat Foley said on the play, Calle Järnkrok.

The third-straight game with a goal for Janmark. He said this season that he felt he had more of an offensive side to his game that he wasn’t able to show in his time with the Dallas Stars. Getting paired with Kane and Pius Suter in the absence of Alex DeBrincat could help bring that out for Janmark.

It was not the best effort from the Blackhawks tonight and they had to pay for it. Getting out-shot and out-chanced nearly two-to-one when you are the lesser-talented team is never going to get you far in the NHL. You get the pity point, but they barely even deserved that. I mean, scoring chances were 40-16 in Nashville’s favor. What is that?

Final Thoughts

•   Lucas Carlsson played 15:36 minutes in his first action of the season. He was OK. Pairing him with Duncan Keith helps his cause, but I wouldn’t say he has the spot in the lineup locked down. Would be interesting to see Nicolas Beaudin or Wyatt Kalynuk rotate in with Adam Boqvist out.

•   Patrick Kane had no shots on goal in this one. Neither did Dominik Kubalík. That’s not going to be a winning recipe for this Blackhawks team.

•   Ian Mitchell finished the game with the fewest minutes of the Blackhawks defensemen with 11:43 minutes played, also his fewest of the season. He was on the ice for the overtime winner, so he got deployed in crunch time, but it’s perplexing why he was used so little in this one.

•   Blackhawks penalty-kill went 4-for-4 on the night. That’s a confidence booster, even if it was against one of the worst powerplay teams in the league.

Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.