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Category: Chicago-Blackhawks

Rocking In Nashville

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

Nashville has never held a 3-0 lead in a playoff series. And Nashville has never looked more like a Stanley Cup contender than it does now. If the Blackhawks can’t win four straight games to become the fifth team in NHL history to overcome a 3-0 deficit, the Western Conference is an attainable prize for the Predators.

“It’s a good position to be up right now, up 3-0, but I think we still have to treat this next game like we treated Game 3,” Rinne said. “Nothing should change.”

For much of Monday, it looked like the Blackhawks were going to change things up and make this a series. After it looked like the Predators would squander that stirring start.

The club has been criticized for ticket policies designed to keep out opposing fans, but it worked out OK for them in Game 3. There might have been 100 red jerseys in the crowd.

This is still a small fan base compared to most, in a place where kids playing hockey on a frozen pond is not a thing, and these people follow a 19-year-old franchise that has never been past the second round of the playoffs. But the place was sold out and legitimately rocking for all 41 regular-season games. Monday was another level entirely.

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The Chicago Blackhawks Are Now Facing Elimination

from Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago,

The Blackhawks had finally broken through Pekka Rinne. Twice. They had their first goals of the series. They had their first lead of the series.

But after taking the initiative in the second period the Blackhawks went more into a defensive mode again. Against the Nashville Predators, who have shown they’ll take advantage of any chance, hop or bounce they get, it was an opportunity.

Now the Blackhawks are on the brink of elimination.

Patrick Kane scored his 50th career postseason goal but the Predators came back, with Kevin Fiala getting the overtime winner to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Monday night. The Predators take a commanding 3-0 series lead; they’ll have their first chance to eliminate the Blackhawks in Game 4 on Thursday night.

The Blackhawks were subdued after this one. Save a period or so, the Predators have outplayed the Blackhawks in these three games. Now the desperation is at an all-time high.

“Yeah, it’s not easy. It’s not easy. It’s a good team and they want it. They’re pushing themselves to the limit. But we have no choice. We’ve got to find a way to put pressure on them,” Jonathan Toews said. “We’ve got to make them realize that winning that fourth game is the toughest for any team in any series. We can be that team to try and frustrate them and put pressure on them, especially in their own building in the next game. You never know what can happen, so we’ll just focus on winning the next one.”

continued

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Enough Of The Blackhawks Fans

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

For lack of a better word that would be appropriate in this forum, let’s go with “doofuses” to describe these Chicago Blackhawks fans.

Not all of them. Just the ones who think the NHL was founded in the 21st century. I know them well because I have family, friends and many life memories in the great city of Chicago.

I’ve mixed with them in their favorite spots in the neighborhoods north of downtown, where we drank cans of a popular 1970s beer called Pabst Blue Ribbon because — like the Blackhawks — it became chic again in the 21st century. In Doofus-ese, we called it PBR....

But it’s much more than that. I got a chance to visit my favorite Chicagoans last week and posed a very subtle question to them: Is there any doubt that the Chicago Blackhawks fan base is largely made up of the biggest bunch of front-running, bandwagon-jumping posers in sports?

Here are some of the responses. And keep in mind that some of these people are, in fact, Blackhawks fans:

“All day.”

“There’s not a close second.”

“The (minor league) Chicago Wolves were more popular 10 years ago.”

“Every dude from Schaumburg suddenly has a Blackhawks frame around his license plate.”

read on

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The Chicago Blackhawks Are In A 0-2 Hole

from Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago,

Zip. Zilch. Nada. Nothing.

The Blackhawks didn't get anything in Game 1 against Nashville, but that game was at least palatable. They didn't do a lot, but they didn't give up a lot, either. But in Game 2, with the Predators upping their game, the Blackhawks didn't match. They didn't even come close. And now they're facing one hell of a first-round series hole.

Ryan Ellis scored what would be the game-winning goal in the first period and Pekka Rinne got his second shutout in as many games with 30 stops as the Predators beat the Blackhawks 5-0 on Saturday night. The Predators, who looked as strong as the Blackhawks looked frustrated, take a 2-0 lead back to Nashville for Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Thursday, respectively.

The Blackhawks could take positives out of Game 1. This one? Not so much. It's the second time in franchise history the Blackhawks were shut out in their first two postseason games. The last time it happened was back in 1935.

"That was frustration to a different level. That wasn't fun to watch. Across the board, not too many positives came out of tonight's game," coach Joel Quenneville said. "Everybody was responsible, from the coaches down to every single player. We need to get out of this mess and hole. We can play much better than that in all areas, in all aspects. We're a better hockey team than we showed tonight."

continued

Game highlights are below along with a frustrating reaction from Ryan Hartman of the Blackhawks...

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The Nashville Predators Play Their Game To Beat The Chicago Blackhawks

from Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times,

These weren’t the new-look Nashville Predators, the aggressive, offensively minded group that tries to score goals, not simply prevent them. These were the old-school Predators — diving in front of shots, sliding in front of shots, stepping in front of shots. Clogging the neutral zone. Steering oncoming forwards out wide and then sagging in the middle.

For much of the final two periods Thursday night, the Predators looked like they were on an extended penalty-kill, holding on for dear life as the Blackhawks woke up from a sleepy first period.

It’s not pretty. And it might not be sustainable. But it worked in Game 1 of the first-round Stanley Cup playoff series at the United Center, mostly because Pekka Rinne went old-school, too, looking like his former All-Star self in a 1-0 shutout of the Hawks.

It was an emphatic reminder that, against the Predators, the first goal is even more important than usual.

continued

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Advantage Nashville?

from Joe Rexrode of The Tennessean,

Thankfully, the Game 1 countdown has been reduced to hours, and soon enough these teams will be off and skating, setting the tone for a compelling series. This has been building like a college football rivalry game. There’s been enough time to prepare for a football game as well.

Equal opportunity for both sides, of course, and they already know each other well. But that doesn’t mean an enterprising student of the game can’t use the available technology to find a helpful little nugget or two.

And perhaps this is where the Predators will have an edge. Though coaches and players use it, I think the “underdog” card usually is overrated in terms of intensity of play in situations like this – both of these teams are going to spill it from the start, no matter who’s favored and what has been said.

But I think preparation can be impacted by mindset. Has the Blackhawks’ confidence strayed at all into overconfidence? Have the Predators done more than the Blackhawks this week to find wrinkles and individual tendencies that aren’t dug up in a regular-season setting? If so, can that tilt things Nashville’s way a bit?

Peter Laviolette and his players certainly made use of the time.

“We’ve actually been able to take it up and break it into days,” he said of the video prep coordinated by video coach Lawrence Feloney. “Work on certain things, whether it’s power play or penalty kill or systems or personnel or lines that they have, and combinations and tendencies. 

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Video- Richard Panik Almost Prevented A Chicago Goal

Gord Miller with the call...

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: richard+panik

Quite The Comeback For The Tampa Bay Lightning

from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,

As much resilience as the Lightning has shown recently, this looked pretty darn bleak.

Like season-over bad.

With any loss potentially crippling Tampa Bay's perilous playoff hopes, it fell behind 4-1 midway through Monday's showdown with the Blackhawks. The Lightning's No. 1 goalie, Andrei Vasilevskiy, had already been pulled and re-inserted into the game. The large portion of red-clad Chicago fans drowned out the sellout crowd of 19,092 at Amalie Arena.

Cooper summed up the feeling perfectly: "This (stinks).'"

But the Lightning didn't sink. It surprised — again —roaring back for a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over Chicago. Tampa Bay's third consecutive come-from-behind victory was a significant swing in the standings. It pulled the Lightning one point ahead of the Islanders and within one point of Boston for the final wild-card spot with seven games to go.

"We didn't quit," Cooper said. "We just kept hanging around, hanging around, hanging around."

Said wing Yanni Gourde: "We knew we could come back. We've got the firepower."

Gourde, a rookie who was in the ECHL just a few years ago, was the unlikely hero, scoring the overtime winner on a breakaway with just under a minute to go.

continued

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All Duncan Keith

from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,

ESPN.com: As one of the leaders on this team, what do you do with the younger players when they come in for the first time? Is it more by osmosis, leading by example, or do you sometimes take a kid aside and talk to him?

Keith: It's a little bit different for everybody. You get a guy like [Ryan] Hartman, who had played in the minors for a couple of years. I think he was ready to make that step this year. He's got good habits already. Maybe with other guys, you notice that they're young and need to learn, whether it's taking them aside or just showing them or saying, 'Hey this is what you need to be doing here. This is a big step from college.' But a lot of it is on the individual, too. It's up to them. It's like the old saying, 'You can lead the horse to the water, but you can't make him drink.' We've been lucky to have guys who come in and want to be part of a winning team.

ESPN.com: Do the core guys, the original group, ever take stock of what you've accomplished so far together?

Keith: I spend a lot of time with Seabs, obviously. I think we're both proud to have played with the same organization as long as we have and to play in a city like Chicago, and for these fans. There are times when we reflect how lucky we are to be in this situation, and how much fun we've had in this city. It wasn't always the organization that it is now. I's been quite a turnaround. We just feel lucky to be part of it.

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  Tags: duncan+keith

Video- You Make The Call On The Jonathan Toews Goal

via the Denver Post,

Colorado coach Jared Bednar challenged the play, and video replays appeared to show Toews was offside before he later scored, but officials upheld the call after a lengthy review and the Blackhawks were within 3-2.

“I don’t necessarily understand it, but it’s a tag-up rule,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “It wasn’t on his stick. That is what it is. For me, it’s 3-2, nine-and-a-half minutes to go, that gives them a little life. It’s what we do after that that bothers me.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said, “I thought it was the right call. It doesn’t trigger the offside until he touches the puck. Johnny (Toews) gets his skate back on time, right at probably the same time as we touch it. You can say it was a tie. That’s the Minnesota play.”

Quenneville was referring to a similar play in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime win over the Wild on Feb 8. In that game, Quenneville used his coach’s challenge after J.P. Parise scored in the second period for the Wild, arguing that Parise was offside on the sequence leading to the goal. After a long review, officials said the evidence was inconclusive and let the goal stand.

Watch it play out below...

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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