Blackhawks fall into 3-0 hole with overtime loss to Predators

Blackhawks fall into 3-0 hole with overtime loss to Predators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Blackhawks had finally broken through Pekka Rinne. Twice. They had their first goals of the series. They had their first lead of the series.

But after taking the initiative in the second period the Blackhawks went more into a defensive mode again. Against the Nashville Predators, who have shown they’ll take advantage of any chance, hop or bounce they get, it was an opportunity.

Now the Blackhawks are on the brink of elimination.

Patrick Kane scored his 50th career postseason goal but the Predators came back, with Kevin Fiala getting the overtime winner to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Monday night. The Predators take a commanding 3-0 series lead; they’ll have their first chance to eliminate the Blackhawks in Game 4 on Thursday night.

The Blackhawks were subdued after this one. Save a period or so, the Predators have outplayed the Blackhawks in these three games. Now the desperation is at an all-time high.

“Yeah, it’s not easy. It’s not easy. It’s a good team and they want it. They’re pushing themselves to the limit. But we have no choice. We’ve got to find a way to put pressure on them,” Jonathan Toews said. “We’ve got to make them realize that winning that fourth game is the toughest for any team in any series. We can be that team to try and frustrate them and put pressure on them, especially in their own building in the next game. You never know what can happen, so we’ll just focus on winning the next one.”

The Blackhawks had a 2-0 lead after two, thanks to goals from Kane and Dennis Rasmussen, whose first career postseason goal snapped the Blackhawks’ postseason scoreless streak at 177 minutes, 45 seconds. The 2-0 lead after two is edge that usually meant a victory for the Blackhawks in recent years. But nothing about this Blackhawks postseason has been typical, and just over 14 minutes into the third period, thanks to two Filip Forsberg goals, they were tied 2-2.

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“We got that 2-0 lead that was nice to have and even worse to give up,” Kane said. “They kind of took over in the third, we kind of sat back. They had way more chances than we did in overtime. It would’ve been nice to have a little pushback there, especially after it was tied up.”

Coach Joel Quenneville saw it a bit different, although he still saw a big shortcoming with the Blackhawks.

“I think even parts of the first two periods, our puck management tonight wasn’t as good as it had to be. It got us in trouble on a couple of plays but all three [Nashville goals] were pretty innocent how they materialized and turned into goals,” he said. “We didn’t give up many chances over 60 minutes and overtime but we didn’t generate much at the end because we didn’t keep the puck, put it in good areas or win enough puck battles. It might have come down to that.”

Playoff goals can be different, and the Predators’ third-period ones were. The puck caromed high off the glass behind the net and bounced in front, where Filip Forsberg punched it in. Ten minutes later it was Forsberg again, tying it 2-2. The Blackhawks challenged for goaltender interference but video review ruled it a good goal.

Crawford, who stopped 46 of 49 in the loss, didn’t have much to say about the wonky first goal or the challenged second one.

“I don’t know. The game is over,” he said to both. He was more vocal regarding the Blackhawks’ current state.

“I felt pretty good but there were some tough breaks on the goals. I think everyone is a little pissed off and a little angry. We should be,” he said. “We haven’t played our best hockey yet so it’s time.”

It has to be time. The Blackhawks haven’t put together a 60-minute game yet this postseason. They really haven’t come close. Maybe you can compare this to deficits in the past but, at the same time, times change. Personnel changes. Situations change. Can the Blackhawks come back from this?

“We’re going to have to,” Quenneville said.

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

Blackhawks remember Dave Bolland for more than just '17 Seconds'

The Blackhawks are honoring one of their own on Friday, with Dave Bolland set to skate “One More Shift” with the organization. He will join the team on the ice during the anthem, and will be featured throughout the game commemorating his time in Chicago.

When you think of Bolland, the first thing that pops up into the minds of fans is his game-winning goal in Game 6 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. Or, better known as the second goal of "17 Seconds."

But his former teammates remember him for more than that.

"He was awesome," Patrick Kane said. "He was one of those guys who played a third-line role for like his whole time here and just really did well with it. I remember the line with him, [Martin] Havlat and [Andrew] Ladd really took off in 2009 and obviously [Dustin] Byfuglien, him and [Kris] Versteeg were a good line in 2010. But just the way he played, he got underneath the other team's skin, especially their star players. Wasn't afraid to chirp, wasn't afraid to get into the mix, especially with his size and the way he was built.

"But yeah, some great moments, some big goals, a lot of big shorthanded goals, you can obviously remember his 17 seconds was unbelievable as well, that's a goal I'm sure he'll never forget. We'll never forget that celebration too, so it's awesome he's getting honored."

Bolland, who earned the nickname "The Rat," is perhaps best known for the role he played in the Blackhawks' playoff series battles with the Vancouver Canucks. His line frequently drew the defensive matchups against Daniel and Henrik Sedin, and he's the one player who really knew how to throw both twins off their game at the same time.

"I think he's kind of like Shawzy," Jonathan Toews said. "He's one of those guys that fans here in Chicago really like. Aside from scoring goals and the plays that he made over the years in the playoffs, he was one of those guys that you loved having on your team that other teams hated. He found ways to chip away at their best players and get them off their game. He was good at a lot of little things like that, so he was a big part of those winning teams."

Andrew Shaw was teammates with Bolland for only two seasons, but they won a Stanley Cup together and Bolland was one of the best and knowing his role and perfecting it.

"One of the best at his job," Shaw said. "He played that shutdown centerman. I always thought he had the shortest shifts. His shift lengths were so short just 'cause he would play so much against top guys that he'd want to be so well-rested while he was out there. ... He was skilled enough to chip in offensively as well.

"That's the type of player he was. He'd play against the top guys, he'd shut them down, he'd be that little rat himself, just try to get them off their game as well as outworking them."

Bolland spent seven of his 10 NHL seasons in Chicago, where he registered 168 points (70 goals, 98 assists) in 332 games. He was drafted by the Blackhawks in the second round (No. 32 overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.

Friday will mark the first night honoring the 10-year anniversary of the 2010 Stanley Cup Championship, which ended a 49-year drought in franchise history. The first 10,000 fans on Friday will receive a Marian Hossa bobblehead.

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Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

USA Today

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Blue Jackets

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they host the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. It will be his second start of the season.

In his season debut against the Winnipeg Jets, Lehner stopped 30 of 33 shots for a save percentage of .909 in a 3-2 overtime loss. He gave up a 5-on-5 goal, power-play goal and overtime goal at 3-on-3. Overall, he was solid.

"Everyone wants to play all the time," Colliton said of the dynamic between Corey Crawford and Lehner. "Whether it's a goalie, forward or D, they play better when they play more. That's just the standard answer. But we've had a little bit of a lighter schedule. We're trying to make ... we want both guys going because we're coming up on a stretch where we're playing a lot of games, so we're going to need them both."

Lehner is 5-3-0 with a 1.97 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout in eight career appearances against the Blue Jackets. 

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