NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Blackhawks will likely welcome this break more than they did their bye week. They’re still winning, certainly, their 5-3 decision over the Nashville Predators their 12th victory in their last 13 games. But they’re banged up right now.
So four days off is looking like a beautiful thing. Coach Joel Quenneville said these four days will be used wisely.
“Some [players] will get a couple more days off than the rest,” he said. “It’ll be good for us to try and recapture, stay focused, keep pushing forward. It’s been a good stretch for us, fun, but enjoy some time off for some guys here and let’s come back energized for the last stretch. Because we’re busy.”
We’ll get back to busy later. Now, onto the notables.
What Worked: Jordin Tootoo-Cody McLeod fight. Not sure if McLeod challenged Tootoo or vice-versa, but this was a good thing nevertheless for the Blackhawks. It didn’t matter who won the fracas. Up to that point the Predators were dominating the Blackhawks with zone time and shots on goal (10-1). The Blackhawks responded post fight, outshooting the Predators 10-4 the rest of the period and getting Patrick Kane’s power-play goal for the 1-0 lead after one.
What Didn’t Work: The Blackhawks’ response after second-period goals. Tootoo gave the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead 11 minutes into the second period. A little more than a minute later the Predators cut that edge to one thanks to Viktor Arvidsson. The one that stung the most came in the final minute, however. Just 14 seconds after Jonathan Toews gave the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead, Calle Jarnkrok cut it to 3-2. The Blackhawks have responded well following their goals over the last few weeks but not so much in the second period on Saturday.
Star of the game: We’re going with Tootoo for this one. He had the aforementioned momentum-shifting fight, drew a penalty that resulted in a Blackhawks power-play goal and scored his first of the season. Tootoo hasn’t played much this season. But against his former team, he had his best game of the season.
He Said It: It’s looking like it’s 3-3 and you’re going to overtime, and maybe getting the extra point there and all of a sudden it’s 4-3 and they have to defend their empty net. I thought it was a great play overall that last goal. But I think just the last couple games, [it’s] just having that belief to the end, no matter what happens throughout the game, stay patient and hang in there and have that belief.” — Kane on the Blackhawks’ finding ways to win.
By the Numbers:
400 – Career points for Brent Seabrook, whose two assists on Saturday night helped him reach that milestone.
8 – Consecutive road victories for the Blackhawks, a new franchise record. Their previous seven-game road record was established Dec. 9-29, 1964.
268 – Career goals for Toews, thanks to his second-period goal. Toews is now tied with Tony Amonte for seventh all-time in Blackhawks history.
9 – Goals, in his last five games, for Kane. That includes two goals on Saturday against the Predators and hat tricks against Arizona and Pittsburgh.