Rapid Reaction: Hawks 5, Predators 4
March, 31, 2012
By Jesse Rogers | ESPNChicago.com
A quick look at how the Chicago Blackhawks pulled out a 5-4 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night.
How it happened: A crazy night went the Hawks’ way when Andrew Shaw found a pinching Brent Seabrook for the winning goal midway through the third period. It was a perfect back-hand pass and helped ease the pain of the Hawks blowing a 4-0 lead. Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland scored power-play goals followed by a Patrick Kane mini breakaway tally. Then Viktor Stalberg finished a nice rush by banking one in off of Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. It was Stalberg’s 20th goal of the season. But Nashville responded with four straight goals of their own between the second and third periods, including two on the power play and two by Shea Weber. Nashville had all the momentum until Shaw found Seabrook to avoid a heart-breaking defeat.
What it means: The Hawks are in the playoffs for the fourth consecutive year, but they didn’t make it easy on themselves. Playing the night before didn’t stop Nashville from outplaying the Hawks in the second half of the contest, but another big goal late in a game by Seabrook was the difference. The Hawks’ power play was much better getting pucks on net from the outset. But problems in front of Corey Crawford continue. With Weber, and others, blasting away from the point there was too much traffic in front of the Hawks goal. And no one was putting a body on them. It’s something that needs to be fixed before the playoffs, if it can be at this point. It’s still a good enough road win, despite the near collapse, and the Hawks will play on into mid-April as they improved to 44-26-9.
Playoffs: The Hawks are in and tied Detroit in points with their 97th, but remain the No. 6 seed at the moment due to a tiebreaker. The Hawks have played one more game than Detroit and have three games remaining in the regular season.
What’s next: The Hawks return to Chicago for a Sunday evening contest against the Minnesota Wild.