Domingo, 22 Julio, 2018

Blackhawks seeking offense, tweak lines for Game 3

Who will win Blackhawks vs. Predators playoff series? Our experts make their prediction. The Blackhawks Are The Favorites To Win The Stanley Cup. Here's Why.
Montrelle Montesinos | 23 Abril, 2017, 10:54

Dust off their top division rival quickly enough that players and coaches can kick back for a few days and rest their minds and bodies, which is a rare commodity at this time of year. Quenneville has until today to find the team everyone thought he had, the one with the championship core complemented by so much talented youth. It was Nashville's second playoff win in Chicago in seven tries.

"I didn't think you would be saying that (two) games into the series", captain Jonathan Toews said.

The Blackhawks, who averaged 2.93 goals per game in the regular season, have been shut out have yet to score in the series and are starting to feel the pressure. Game 3 was Sunday night.

They need to get pucks deeper into the zone, and force the Predators' defense to bend its shape to handle that.

The offense has been stagnating in the postseason as well, largely because their bread and butter plays are being taken away from them. Peks was phenomenal for us.

Viktor Arvidsson, who scored the lone goal in Game 1, was in the middle of the play again and set an effective screen on Crawford.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville tinkered with his lines, replacing rookie forward John Hayden with Dennis Rasmussen.

Chicago controlled most of the last two periods, but Nashville blocked several shots from the perimeter and got in the passing lanes when the Blackhawks tried to find a better opportunity. The fabulous Finn again rose to the occasion, making 30 saves - and even outscoring the Hawks with two assists.

For all the talk about how tested and experienced the Hawks are, how they've been in any and every situation imaginable, that's only the case for about half the team.

After Ryan Johansen was sent off for delay of game 9 seconds into the second, Rinne denied Patrick Kane and Trevor van Riemsdyk on the resulting power play. They're playing with house money at this point, which is a bit unsafe for the top seed Blackhawks. We have to have more desperation around the net and that willingness to get through and fight through it and pay the price (with) whatever's there.

For the Predators to earn another road win, goaltender Pekka Rinne likely will have to be at his best.

Boosted by a raucous, red-clad crowd of 22,075, the Blackhawks got off to a fast start.

It was the only goal of a first period that the unintimidated Predators decidedly controlled, pushing the Blackhawks to the outside and holding them to one shot on goal for a almost 14-minute span. If you're hopping on the bandwagon (now's the time), allow us catch you up: the Hawks are very good. Forsberg then threw it toward the net and Arvidsson tipped it by Crawford at 7:52. The Blackhawks won four of five in the regular season against Nashville.

ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS: With Chicago going almost 14 minutes without a shot on goal in the first period of Game 1, rookie Nick Schmaltz found himself on the bench for a brief time - a move that could translate into Game 2.

The top-seeded Capitals came back from a two-goal deficit to take the early lead in the series. Justin Williams scored twice in regulation, and Washington showed it could handle the adversity of falling behind. Toronto counterpart Frederik Andersen was arguably the best player on the ice with 41 saves before being beaten by Wilson with an absurd shot on the victor.

The Maple Leafs lost rugged defenseman Roman Polak, a former Blues player, to injury in the second period when his right leg bent the wrong way on landing after a hit from Brooks Orpik.

If anxiety had an audible quality, you could have heard it Saturday night at the United Center when Ryan Ellis scored the first goal of the game.

That's the Stanley Cup playoffs. Nashville is EVEN money to win Game 3 at SportsInteraction.com.