The Chicago Blackhawks expect a much better effort, and outcome, when they face the Predators in Nashville for the second time in as many nights on Wednesday.
The Blackhawks dropped a 3-2 overtime clash on Tuesday, but despite gaining a single point, they were taken to task in public by coach Jeremy Colliton.
“As the game went on, we didn’t have enough guys going, both up front and on the back end, and we got worn down,” Colliton said. “Not enough pushback. Not enough sustained possession. We got a point, but far from the level we need to be at to consistently get points.”
Coming off a pair of impressive home wins over the Detroit Red Wings, the Blackhawks delivered a stinker in Music City. Had it not been for the scintillating goaltending of Malcolm Subban — who stopped 36 shots, including all 17 he faced in the first period, in possibly the best outing of his career — the result would have been one-sided.
“We’re trying to find consistency and trying to find a standard that will mean success in the long term. We have guys out, but we can compete when we battle,” Colliton said. “I just didn’t see the urgency and desperation that we’ve had when we’ve been good.”
The Predators snapped a three-game losing streak during which they were outscored 14-4. Their first win since the second game of the season came despite trailing midway through the third period.
“Gutsy win, and it was big for us,” said goalie Pekka Rinne, who made 18 saves and collected a victory for the first time since Feb. 16, 2020. “Obviously, a disappointing trip to Dallas (where they Nashville two straight) … but a crucial win for sure.
“It’s a back-to-back, huge points, every game is so important right now, and it’s just the way we played tonight, I felt that it was a full 60 minutes and overtime. We continued pressing, we were attacking the game and doing a lot of the right things. I’ve got to give a lot of credit to the guys, how they’re sticking with it and they’re just playing hard.”
Predators coach John Hynes called it a big win “in the sense that we wanted to get back into the win column, and I liked the game. I just liked our stick-to-it-iveness throughout the game.
“We didn’t veer off when we had some good moments and then capitalized on some good opportunities. And then Chicago had some good pushes, too, but I felt like we stayed with what we felt we needed to do to win the game and got rewarded for it.”
The less-is-more approach proved successful.
“It’s a huge lesson, and I think there’s a lot we can take from this game,” said Predators captain Roman Josi, who scored the winner Tuesday in overtime.
“(Teams that are struggling are often) trying to make complicated plays, and then it’s easy to get into that habit, but I thought we kept making simple (plays), we kept pushing. I think it’s a great lesson for us to just stick with it.”
That said, the Predators are well aware that the Blackhawks will look for revenge in the rematch, especially star Patrick Kane, who failed to register a single shot on goal and was a minus-2 on the night.
“I’m sure there’s a lot of guys that are going to be better,” Colliton said. “He’ll be one of them.”
–Field Level Media