The second and third period were pretty good. The first wasn't. Overall, it wasn't a bad game for the Blackhawks but they got away from what worked for them, including traffic in front of the net. The Nashville Predators didn't do too much on their end, either, but they did enough.
So the Predators take Game 1, 1-0. Before we head out for the evening, let's look at some of the notables.
What worked: The Predators' checking game. It's probably not a formula that's going to work over the long haul but it worked to take Game 1. After getting that first-period lead the Predators bent but didn't break, giving up a little but not too much. Said coach Joel Quenneville, "they were happy to check the rest of the game and they did a good job of having the lead and trying to frustrate us."
What didn't work: The Blackhawks' net-front game. Credit the Predators for part of this. As Niklas Hjalmarsson said, "they out-battled us a bit," making it difficult for the Blackhawks to get around Pekka Rinne. But the Blackhawks reverted back to an old habit of not working hard enough to get that space in front. Their slow start to the first period was a problem, too. But even when they were getting shots early, they were from too far away.
Star of the game: Pekka Rinne. The Predators were on the attack in the first period but were otherwise on the defensive against the Blackhawks. Enter Rinne, who denied the Blackhawks at every opportunity. Sure, the Predators blocked their share of shots in front of him. And coach Joel Quenneville thought the Blackhawks could have had much more quality against him. But a postseason shutout is a postseason shutout, and Rinne earned it.
He said it: "We know it's going to be a long series. We knew we were not going to sweep them. It's a good hockey team. It's a really good team. So we knew it was going to be a big challenge. It's a new game on [Saturday]. Just have to regroup." Hjalmarsson on the Blackhawks' Game 1 loss.
By the Numbers:
24:23 – Time on ice for Patrick Kane, the most of any forward on Thursday. Artemi Panarin was next with 21:31 of ice time.
13:46 – Amount of time the Blackhawks went without a shot in the first period, from Artemi Panarin's attempt at 6:08 to Duncan Keith's with six seconds remaining in the period.
26 – Shots blocked by the Predators. They had 19 of those through the second period. Roman Josi led the Predators with five blocks.
7 – Hits logged by Richard Panik, a game high.