The Blackhawks fell to the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Saturday at the United Center.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. Kirby Dach returned to the lineup after missing the first 34 games of the season because of a right wrist injury he suffered in Team Canada's lone exhibition game at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. He started as the third-line center alongside Mattias Janmark and Dylan Strome and recorded four shot attempts (one on goal), one takeaway, one blocked shot and won four of 10 faceoffs in 20:08 of ice time.
2. This was not a great defensive performance by the Blackhawks. They gave up 46 shot attempts, 30 shots on goal, 28 even-strength scoring chances and nine even-strength high-danger chances through two periods, according to Natural Stat Trick.
3. Rocco Grimaldi put the Predators in front 2-0 at the 12:58 mark of the second period. It was his fifth goal in two games; for comparison, he had only 23 goals in 181 career games prior to these last two contests. He's got a hot stick.
4. Pius Suter scored in his third straight game for his 11th of the season, which tied Kirill Kaprizov for the NHL rookie lead. Ten of his 11 goals this season have come at the United Center.
5. The Blackhawks had a rough first period and it set the tone for the game. At even strength, the Predators dominated in shot attempts (25-11), shots on goal (14-5), scoring chances (17-4) and high-danger chances (7-2).
6. The Blackhawks made a push in the third period, leading in shot attempts (23-9), shots on goal (13-4), scoring chances (11-4) and high-danger chances (6-2) but they couldn't find the back of the net. It was too little, too late.
7. It was a physical battle between two teams who don't throw their bodies a lot. The Blackhawks rank 23rd in hits per 60 minutes at 19.4 but recorded 22 of them on Saturday while the Predators rank 26th in hits per 60 minutes at 17.4 and registered 27.
8. The Blackhawks had two power-play opportunities but easily could've had more — a pair of two-many-men penalties that went uncalled in the second period and a knee-on-knee collision with Dach in the neutral zone. They didn't score on any of their two chances. The Predators, oddly, had zero power plays.
9. The Predators were without leading goal scorer and point-getter Filip Forsberg, who was sidelined with an upper-body injury. Luke Kunin, who had two assists, took his spot in the lineup after missing the 13 games with a lower-body injury.
10. The Predators improved to 3-0-0 against the Blackhawks this season and have pulled within two points of a playoff spot.. They're the only team in the Central Division that hasn't lost to Chicago yet.