Jonathan Toews was asked if he thought he had a goal against Pekka Rinne.
“Which one?” asked the Blackhawks captain, who had several prime opportunities against Rinne. “I had a couple great chances… it just didn’t go in, especially early on.”
No, past Brent Seabrook’s 12th goal of the season, the Blackhawks couldn’t get anything past Rinne, who looked like his vintage self in the Nashville Predators’ 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks on Thursday night. The Blackhawks, who have lost two in a row, remain in second place in the Central Division with 81 points. The Dallas Stars, who lost to Winnipeg 6-3, remain atop the Division with 82 points. St. Louis, which lost to the New York Rangers, is third with 79 points.
The biggest news of the night, however, didn’t happen on the ice. The Blackhawks acquired Andrew Ladd from the Jets just prior to the game. In return, the Jets got forward Marko Dano, the Blackhawks’ first-round pick of the 2016 NHL draft and a conditional pick in the 2018 draft.
The Blackhawks will enjoy the potential lines with Ladd’s addition but on Thursday night, they couldn’t muster enough offense with their current lineup. Yep, they had chances, but Rinne stopped all but one. On the other side the Predators got that game-winner late. Calle Jarnkrok got it with 1:51 remaining in regulation to keep the Predators undefeated in their last 10 road games (8-0-2).
Miikka Salomaki added an empty-net goal with 1:03 left in the game.
Corey Crawford stopped 29 of 31 in the loss.
“We had some good chances Rinne made some spectacular saves on, but we just have to find a way to put the puck in the net. A couple of breakdowns there and the puck’s in the back of ours,” Trevor van Riemsdyk said. “Obviously we have to eliminate those, especially this time of year. Crow kept us in it, kept it tied a long time. They seemed to find a way there. We played a little better, we had our chances and we skated pretty well. But obviously in the end, the result is what mattered.”
The Blackhawks’ lineup will soon change a bit. They’ll bring back a veteran player with a lot of familiarity. On Thursday, however, their current lineup came up just short.
“It seemed like it was a pretty defensive-minded game where there weren’t a whole lot of scoring chances. Unfortunately they were able to get one late in the game there,” Duncan Keith said. “Frustrating way to lose.”