Here are five observations from the Chicago Blackhawks’ 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators to take a 3-1 series lead.
Return of the Power Play Woes
After a slight resurgence in Game 1, the Chicago Blackhawks’ power-play woes have once again returned. In Game 4, the Blackhawks went 0-4 when having the man advantage and only accumulated two shots on goal on those chances. Since Game 1, Chicago has gone 0-9 on power-plays with a total of 4 shots on goal. When the Hawks have a man advantage, they have struggled with generating any type of offense, constantly having to retrieve the puck from their own zone. With the skill players on this team, that kind of production is just not acceptable. The return of Patrick Kane was supposed to give a boost to the special teams, but outside of Game 1, it was once again gone cold.
While the NHL had good intentions in staggering the games, it seems very odd that Game 4 drew an 8:30 pm start. This late start meant that fans of both teams had to stay up until just after 1:00 am central time to see the game end. The game took a total of four hours and saw 101 minutes of game time; it’s hard to believe that a majority of fans failed to see what turned out to be an amazing finish. Game 5 also starts at 8:30 pm central time – hopefully this time it ends in regulation.
Mr. Big Shot
There are two things that Chicago Blackhawks fans have come to expect this time of year – their team in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Mr. Big Shot Brent Seabrook breaking their opponents’ hearts in overtime. Seabrook had two shots on goal but made the biggest one count when he fired a shot from the point past Pekka Rinne one minute into the third overtime period. It was Seabrook’s third career playoff overtime winner, putting him one behind Patrick Kane for the team record.
What more can you say about the guy? Constantly put in tough spots, Darling always finds a way to put the Hawks on his back and carry them across the finish line. In Game 4, Darling stopped 50 (yes 50!) of the 52 shots he faced. In the series, the Lamont native has faced 131 shots and stopped 127 of those shots. While Corey Crawford got this team where it is, Darling has earned the starting job until he gives Coach Q a reason to not start him.
What may be lost in Nashville’s triple overtime loss is the outstanding job Pekka Rinne did in keeping his team in the game. After giving up the lead in the third period, Rinne faced a rejuvenated Blackhawk team, and constantly shut them down. Rinne stopped 42 of the 45 shots he faced, but none were bigger than this save to help send the game into OT: