Blackhawks

Missed opportunity sends Hawks to shootout loss

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Missed opportunity sends Hawks to shootout loss

Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011
Posted: 9:46 PM Updated 10:50 PM
By Tracey Myers
CSNChicago.com

NASHVILLE For nearly 50 minutes, the Chicago Blackhawks were outworking, outhustling and dominating the Nashville Predators, with a 2-0 lead to show for it.

But when the Predators pushed back in the final 10 minutes of regulation, a big two points for the Blackhawks turned into just one.

Tomas Kopecky and Viktor Stalberg scored, but the Predators came back with two in the third and Marcel Goc had the shootout winner in a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night.

Corey Crawfords shutout streak ended at 176 minutes, nine seconds. It was the longest such run since Tony Esposito went 192:29 from Jan. 16-30, 1972.

I could care less (about that), as long as we get two points, Crawford said. At least we came away with one, but I think we couldve had two there.

The Blackhawks looked set to collect two points and jump ahead of the Predators with what was a strong display of hockey through most of the game. They were controlling the action, seemingly winning every puck battle and spending tons of time in the Predators zone. But the Predators fired back in the third, outshooting the Blackhawks 13-7 in the frame and wrestling momentum away.

It was another game in which the Blackhawks struggled to hold on in the third period.

Its frustrating, captain Jonathan Toews said. I think a lot of guys played well, collectively we played well. We got big stops from Crow and big penalty kills. It just comes down to a couple little mistakes and its frustrating when those things dont go right for you.

READ: Hjalmarsson's dirty work

Crawford had recorded two consecutive shutouts entering this one. But Jerred Smithson ended his bid for a third 9:46 into the third period. The Predators fed off that momentum, and less than three minutes later Shea Webers shot from the blue line tied it 2-2.

We had them right where we wanted them, coach Joel Quenneville said. They got a little life on that (Smithson) goal, the building got loud, face off, bang-bang play and they got the (Weber) shot. We shouldve nailed it.

That was a good opportunity for us, Quenneville said. You know they were going to have their turn at some point in the game and they did.

WATCH: Coach Q upset after game

The Blackhawks couldnt get a shootout attempt past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne, who stopped 31 of 33 in the victory. Rinne also came up big with 1:26 remaining in overtime, when he stopped Patrick Sharps breakaway shot.

There was already an onus on Sunday nights rematch against the Predators. After the way Saturdays game ended, its that much greater now.

Obviously its a huge game, a big weekend for us, Quenneville said. The standings are still probably jumbled up. Itll be the same going into tomorrows game: a tight team playing a tight game. And you have to be ready to win that type of game where its a low scoring affair and a hard-working type of game gets rewarded.

Briefly

Jake Dowell went off briefly in the first period after blocking a puck off his right leg. He finished the game.

John Scott, Nick Boynton and Ryan Johnson were once again scratches on Saturday night.

Quenneville said prior to Saturdays game that Marty Turco could possibly start Sunday.

Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.

A sneak peek at Cam Ward's new Blackhawks goalie mask

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USA TODAY

A sneak peek at Cam Ward's new Blackhawks goalie mask

It's a new year, new team for Cam Ward, who spent his first 13 NHL seasons with the Carolina Hurricanes before signing in Chicago on a one-year deal this summer. That means a newly-designed goalie mask is required to match up with his new team's colors, uniform and Blackhawks logo.

The designer of Ward's goalie masks Steve Nash, whose clients include 2017-18 Vezina Trophy finalist Connor Hellebuyck, two-time Stanley Cup champion Jonathan Quick and three-time 30-win netminder Martin Jones, shared a teaser on Twitter of Ward's new Blackhawks-themed mask for the upcoming season and it's sweet.

Check it out:

Why Ryan Hartman is betting on himself going into another contract year with Predators

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USA TODAY

Why Ryan Hartman is betting on himself going into another contract year with Predators

Ryan Hartman has been through this before. Back in December of 2012, he sustained a torn labrum in his right shoulder but played through it because the Plymouth Whalers were in the middle of a playoff run. He waited until the offseason to have it surgically repaired and was cleared for contact just in time for him to attend his first training camp with the Blackhawks in September of 2013.

This time was a little different though.

Hartman had been acquired by the Nashville Predators at the trade deadline in exchange for prospect Victor Ejdsell and a 2018 first- and fourth-round pick — a hefty price to pay — in hopes of serving as an additional spark plug for a Predators team looking to load up for a second consecutive Stanley Cup run.

So when Hartman was brushed by Nathan MacKinnon along the boards, lost his footing and fell on his left shoulder late in Game 4 of the first round against Colorado, he immediately knew something was up.

"It didn't feel great at all," said Hartman, who went straight to the dressing room and had team doctors pop it back into place. "I finished the game and was able to finish playoffs in like a modified sling, which sucked to play with, but it's playoffs. It's one of those things where there are many guys playing through injuries and I was one of them."

Hartman, who's been rehabbing and training in Chicago, received the green light to fully participate in hockey-related drills last Monday but was advised to delay his Chicago Pro Hockey League debut for one more week just to err on the side of caution. On Wednesday, he got back into a game-type setting and "felt good" after 50 minutes of action going up against former teammates Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane.

Now he can fully focus on this upcoming season and amp up his on-ice training to a level he couldn't get to while recovering from shoulder surgery with training camp a month away.

Hartman was a restricted free agent this summer and recently re-signed with the Predators on a one-year deal worth $875,000. Clearly, he's betting on himself to bounce back to his rookie year form when he scored 19 goals and cash out on a larger paycheck down the line, even though he had multiple longer-term offers from the Predators.

"Yeah we talked, [GM David Poile] wants me to be there, I want to be there, we have a good relationship," Hartman said. "Obviously, he gave up a lot of stuff to take me and sees me in the future of the team and I see myself there too. There's a lot of little things that go into negotiations — if it's money wise or length — and there was a various amount [of offers] that was thrown out on both sides. With no [arbitration] rights, the best thing for me and my team was to bet on myself, take the year and go from there next year."

With that comes the pressure of having to earn another contract for the second straight year, which is also risky considering he's coming off an injury that sidelined him all summer. But that's just the way he wants it.

"Either way I want to play my best, if I have a contract or not for long-term," Hartman said. "There is the benefit of having security with long-term deals, but you see guys, in history, that sign these deals and maybe have a year or two of, not really being complacent, but just feeling satisfied. I don't like the feeling of being satisfied. I'm not saying that's why I took that contract over another contract, but it was a good month and a half of debating one of the other three [offers]. My family and my agent, we chose this was the best for me and the team as well."

It's easy to see why the Predators are happy with this deal, too. Hartman is better suited to play in a bottom-six role on a really good team but has the ability to play in the top-six if needed. A strong season out of him and they'll be happy to reward him with a longer-term offer next summer. It also means he'd be making an impact while making less than $1 million, and every contending team needs those contributions from their depth players.

Pull up the Predators' CapFriendly page and you'll notice generous contract after generous contract for a majority of their players, particularly their core group. Look no further than Ryan Ellis, who signed an eight-year extension on Tuesday that carries a cap hit of $6.25 million. He certainly left money on the table but elected to take less to follow the lead of everyone else in Nashville because the ultimate goal is to keep the band together.

"You look at Sidney Crosby, one of the best players in the league, isn't even making close to the most money in the league and that's a reason why they've won two Cups," Hartman said. "They have space, maybe not necessarily as much as the Preds do, but Poile's good at that, he's good at stressing winning, the importance of winning, and keeping a team together. Sometimes when you go year to year losing four or five players every summer, it takes a toll having to introduce yourself to new guys all the time. Keeping the same group is really beneficial."

The Predators won't have to do much introducing next month. They're essentially rolling back the same team that arguably would've reached the Stanley Cup Final if they had gotten past the Winnipeg Jets. Hartman will be an important part of that group, only this time he'll be there from the start.

"That's what I'm really excited for," he said. "It's tough coming in [halfway through the season], it kind of feels like ... it's your first time getting called up with the new team. You're adjusting, you're trying not to make a mistake, trying to earn a spot, per se, earn the respect of your peers, so having that and going through a playoff run and a Game 7, if you go through a Game 7 with anybody, it's a bond. The stuff you fight through and you play for each other, to be able to go through a training camp and the ups and downs throughout the whole season, it's going to be exciting. I fell in love with the group for the short time I was there and I'm excited to be there at the start of training camp."