Nashville Predators Drop Game Three, Blackhawks Take 2-1 Series Lead

Chicago Blackhawks
Nashville Predators

The Nashville Predators and Chicago Blackhawks entered game three of their first round series Sunday afternoon with the series tied 1-1. Nashville played host in the first two games dropping game one then followed that up with an impressive 6-2 victory. The Predators entered Windy City without two of their leaders, Mike Fisher and Shea Weber which certainly made an impact on the contest.

In the first two games the Predators jumped off to a hot start scoring first in both games. They had a prime chance to do so just 53 seconds into the game with Kimmo Timonen being sent to the penalty box after being called for holding against Taylor Beck. Nashville didn’t manage to put a  shot on net while on the early man advantage.

The Blackhawks found the back of the net to start the scoring with 5:12 left in the opening period courtesy of Andrew Desjardins wrist shot. Desjardins initial shot was blocked but fell straight back to his stick to give him a second chance at beating Pekka Rinne, and he did.

Just 31 seconds following the game’s first goal the Predators answered back. Mike Ribeiro received the puck from Craig Smith just outside the slot and Ribeiro sent a scorching slap shot into the cage to tie things up at one goal a piece.

The ‘Hawks managed to out shoot the Predators 14-11 in the first 20 minutes of play. Nashville also went 0-for-2 on the power play in the first period.

The Blackhawks opening the middle frame with a goal courtesy of Jonathan Toews just 36 seconds into the period. Toews picked up a nice drop pass from Marian Hossa and sent a wrist shot past Rinne to give Chicago a 2-1 advantage.

Just like the first Chicago tally the Predators answered back very quickly. Mattias Ekholm slapped the puck home off the pipe 22 seconds after the Toews goal. Ekholm’s goal was assisted by Ryan Ellis and Smith.

The rest of the period was completely dominated by the Blackhawks however. Chicago regained the lead with 16:22 left on the clock as Brandon Saad scored on a partial breakaway. He sent a very impressive wrist shot past the blocker of Rinne to light the lamp. Just over nine minutes later the ‘Hawks struck again, this time it was Brent Seabrook beating Rinne with a one-timer just above the slot to push the Chicago lead to 4-2.

Neither team went on the man advantage in the second period and the Predators out shot the Blackhawks 17-10 despite being out scored in the period 2-1.

The Blackhawks carried their momentum into the final period and simply didn’t look back, dominating the ice for the entire 20 minutes of play.

Neither team found the back of the net and Nashville managed to out shoot Chicago in yet another period, 9-6, but simply could not get anything going. Chicago carried the puck and did exactly what they wanted to do with it. They may not have extended their lead, but they played an extremely sound game with the lead in the final period of play.

The Predators out shot the ‘Hawks 37-30 for the game. Rinne stopped 26 of the 30 shots he faced while Scott Darling stopped 35 of the 37 shots he saw. The series is now in Chicago’s favor as they hold a 2-1 advantage with game four coming Tuesday at 8:30 CST.