Same song, different verse. Here are Five Takeaways from the Blackhawks’ 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Friday night.
1. Offense still not clicking. The Blackhawks were looking for a few things from their line changes: better puck possession, better zone time and improved 5-on-5 scoring. In the first period it looked like they were onto something as they outshot the Predators 21-7 and took a 1-0 lead, albeit on a short-handed goal. The 5-on-5 production, however, was still nowhere to be found.
2. Second period issues again. It started with Duncan Keith’s gaffe, an errant pass that led to Calle Jarnkrok’s game-tying goal at the time, which seemed to deflate the Blackhawks after their strong opening 20 minutes. It didn’t help when Craig Smith’s power-play goal gave the Predators a 2-1 lead. The Blackhawks have had their share of shaky second periods. This one was the latest.
3. Penalty-laden outing. The first period was fun to watch because there was a nice flow to it. The second and third? All whistles all the time. From slashes to trips to goaltending interference (one justified call and another not so much), the stop-start stuff was frustrating.
4. Power play still not producing. The Blackhawks had six opportunities on Friday night. Their last chance may have been their best chance, as the Blackhawks showed the desperation of a team needing a tying goal in the final 10 minutes of regulation. Coach Joel Quenneville called Friday’s power play “dangerous enough,” in terms of more pucks on net, but it still came up empty.
5. Pekka Rinne does it again. The Nashville goaltender frustrated the Blackhawks in April and he was doing it again on Friday night. Could the Blackhawks have had more quality shots? Sure. But give the opposing goalie credit. Strong early and late when the Blackhawks made their biggest pushes, Rinne stopped 43 of 44 shots.