Four takeaways: Frustration boils over in Blackhawks loss to Predators


Four takeaways: Frustration boils over in Blackhawks loss to Predators

NASHVILLE — Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 5-2 loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday:

1. A forgettable start

For the sixth straight game, the Blackhawks allowed the first goal — at the 2:11 mark. And it didn't stop there. The Predators scored two more, minutes later within a 39-second span to go up 3-0 in only 4:11 of action. 

What made it even more difficult to swallow is that the Predators were without several key offensive players, including their leading scorer in Filip Forsberg. The Blackhawks had an opportunity to take advantage of a depleted Nashville team, but the Predators came out hungrier after getting shut out two nights before and it showed. The Predators lead the NHL with 14 wins when scoring first.

"I feel like we’re talking about it, we’re aware, we’re trying to have better starts," Jonathan Toews said. "I don’t know how to explain that one tonight. I don’t know if it’s lack of effort again or if it’s just mistakes that we can’t be making, but we seem to correct the course the rest of the game. I think it’s a bunch of different things. So we’re trying to figure it out and continue to try our best to have better starts. It’s clearly what’s hurting us lately."

2. Frustration boils over for Duncan Keith

After falling behind 3-0, frustration really boiled over for the Blackhawks. 

Mikka Salomaki delivered a big hit on Keith, who didn't like it and chaos ensued. To sum it up, Keith racked up 29 penalty minutes (roughing, instigator, fighting, misconduct and game misconduct) while Alex DeBrincat also compiled seven penalty minutes (five for fighting and two for roughing) by coming to the defense of his teammate.

Nobody takes losses harder than Keith, who has been ejected twice this season. But in this case, it was evident that it was built-up frustration and he took it out on the Predators, showing saw raw emotion that the Blackhawks need.

"I just thought it was a little bit from behind," Keith said. "I didn't see the hit coming. It didn't hurt, but at the end of the day we're down 3-0 not even five minutes into the game. Enough's enough.

"At some point, some sort of response was needed. Nice to see DeBrincat get in there; I don't expect that but I'll remember that."

3. Seven-minute kill

After sorting out the messy scuffle, the Predators were awarded a seven-minute power play and even had a 5-on-3 opportunity in the middle of it. It had the potential to turn into a disaster for the Blackhawks, who were already trailing 3-0 and would have to kill it off without one of their best defenders in Keith.

Ironically, it was the Blackhawks that capitalized first when Brandon Saad made a sensational one-man effort by muscling his way past a Predators defender and crashing hard to the net for a shorthanded goal to make it 3-1. It didn't last long, as the Predators got it back 1:15 later which ended the power play. But the response, in a way, galvanized the group.

"That's the passion we need as a team in a hole," Saad said. "You see after that we get a pretty good kill for the most part. I know we gave up one, but it sparked us a little bit and we played with more energy throughout the game. We got to have that throughout the whole 60 minutes, though."

4. All in

The Blackhawks felt like they were making progress under Colliton in the first couple weeks. And then the Vegas game happened, where they lost 8-3 because their effort level wasn't there. Those are the types of losses that are inexcusable.

The Blackhawks are trying to change that or else they'll never be able to dig themselves out of this hole.

"If everyone's not going, you make it tough on yourself," Colliton said. "Especially the way we want to play, we need all give guys on the ice together. We attack together. We defend together. Be willing to do the boring work, be willing to do the thankful stuff. The thing is, if you do it for them, they'll do it for you and everyone gets more in the end. That's what we got to get to. We're not there. But there's no reason why we can't. It's not an ability thing. It's just a will thing. Wasted enough time, let's go now."

Blackhawks could be getting help on defense from Ian Mitchell for play-in series

Blackhawks could be getting help on defense from Ian Mitchell for play-in series

When the NHL laid out its 24-team playoff format, it was originally assumed that players who signed entry-level contracts during the pause — which began on March 12 due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic — wouldn't be eligible to participate in the postseason.

That may not be the case.

On Thursday, TSN's Darren Dreger reported that we should expect the June 1 entry-level signing deadline to be pushed back another month while the NHL and NHLPA to negotiate the possibility of entry-level players signed during the pause joining their clubs for the potential postseason.

That could mean — after sneaking in under the playoff format at No. 12 in the West and set to take on the No. 5-seeded Oilers — the Blackhawks might be able to add some defensive depth in the form of top defensive prospect Ian Mitchell. Mitchell signed a three-year deal with the team in April.

Drafted by the Hawks in the second round (No. 57 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft, Mitchell spent the past three seasons at the University of Denver. He captained the Pioneers this year and set a career high in goals (10) and points (32) through 36 games.

For the 24-team postseason, it was reported that clubs will be able to carry 28 players and unlimited goalies for (targeted) July training camps, the play-in round and playoffs to follow. Given the extra roster spots, Chicago would gladly take Mitchell to add some depth on defense. 

The team that snuck into the mix for the Eastern Conference under the league's format, the No. 12-seeded Montreal Canadiens, might get a boost if they're able to add defensive prospect Alexander Romanov to their squad.

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | Art19

Ex-Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's house listed for $2.6 million

Ex-Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's house listed for $2.6 million

It should come as no surprise that former Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville was a legend in Hinsdale, where he and his family rented their home during each of his three Stanley Cup championships with the Hawks (2010, 2013, 2015). 

The tales of Coach Q frequenting and bringing the Cup to his favorite establishments in town like Fuller House bar and grill, as well as nearby York Tavern in Oak Brook, will live on long past his departure from the Chicago area. 

The house, which saw toilet paper thrown all over its lawn after each championship, was listed at $2.6 million on May 15 by the home owners.

The residence sports seven bedrooms, seven-and-a-half bathrooms, three fireplaces and hardwood floors. 

The property spans two-thirds of an acre and has a fire pit with the back of the house facing a private lake. 

Quenneville served as head coach of the Hawks from 2008 to 2018. He was fired by the Blackhawks on Nov. 6 of 2018 and replaced by Jeremy Colliton. 
Q was hired as the head coach of the Florida Panthers on April 8 of 2019.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.