Kane shatters stick as frustrations boil in a blowout loss to Nashville

Chicago @ Nashville

The Chicago Blackhawks have returned to the ice playing Nashville in a matinee game on New Year’s Day. Collin Delia would be making his first start since May 10th, 2021. Jujhar Kharia would be returning from that devastating head injury. Chicago would be without their top two goaltenders, Marc-Andre Fleury and Kevin Lankinen.

Early in the first, Filip Forsberg would get the puck from Matt Duchene and fire Nashville’s first shot of the game, high glove side beating Delia, making it 1-0 just 1:01 in the first. Soros snagged Kurashev’s wrist shot from the high slot just before this goal. Just a few minutes later, during four-on-four gameplay, the Blackhawks would lose track of Ryan Johanson, who would make a nice move getting Delia sprawling and sliding it into the net, making it 2-0 Predators. Delia would let his first two shots in. He would not make his first save till around the thirteen-minute mark. Chicago would control most of the first period, even being down. Even with controlling the play, Chicago would not generate many high danger chances. The Blackhawks would get two power-play opportunities. The first unit really had the puck-moving on the first power play. Dach, who is being used in the bumper role, was willing to shoot the puck, which opened the passing lanes. The second unit for the hawks looked okay but didn’t generate much, but one nice shot from the point. Soros would make a few excellent saves and keep the game 2-0. Strome would take a late tripping penalty forcing the Hawks to have to kill off a huge penalty late in the first… Delia would make a highlight reel save, but the puck would find Elkolm, and he would blast a slap shot that would get tipped in traffic, finding its way into the back of the net, making it 3-0. Chicago would outshoot Nashville 15-7, but the horrific play of Collin Delia and the breakdowns in the defensive zone would be the significant difference in the first period. Delia’s first period save percentage would be an abysmal .571%. Toews would win six of the seven faceoffs he would take in the first period.

Delia would get the hook, and Arvid Soderblom would lead the Blackhawks onto the ice to start the second to make his NHL debut. It would take a fast twenty-eight seconds for the Hawks to leave Soderblom out to dry, giving up a two on one. The puck would eventually find Jeannot, who would one time it into the net, making it 4-0. Hagel would take a high sticking minor. Thirty seconds into that penalty kill, Dach would take a bad holding penalty giving Nashville a five on three power play for a minute and a half only four minutes into the second. The Hawks would kill off the first of the two power plays, but Josi would hammer one from the point that Soderblom would want back, making it 5-0. Chicago did not come out to play to start the second, and Nashville would dominate the Hawks early in the period. The line of Kane, Dach, and DebBrincat with Gustafson and Seth Jones would get the first good shift of the period just after the halfway mark. Dach replaced Borgstrom, who started the game in the middle of Kane and DeBrincat. Soros would continue his spectacular play in the second and would make a smooth blocker save on Kurashev again. Dach would be one of the few Blackhawks to generate any offense in the middle frame. Picking a pass out of the air, Dach would make a nice saucer pass to a breaking Seth Jones, but Soros Shut outbid would continue. Kurashev would get his third chance, and this time he would make a perfect hard wrist shot just above Soros pad but below his blocker, and the Shut out was no more. Kurashev shows off his ability to find the quiet ice and generate high danger chances. His sneaky hard shot was out in full force. If Kurashev can find consistency in his game, he can be a good player for the Hawks. Soderblom did settle in and saved the rest of the shots he faced in the second. Shots would finish 12-11 in favor of the Preds. Chicago did play better in the later parts of the period after the lines were juggled up. Overall, Chicago played well with a lead in every category, but the goaltending and breakdowns have been killing them.

Fifty-three seconds into the third, the early goals would continue as Jeannot would get a shot from the point, and he would find the twine with the shot-making it 6-1. Chicago better prays for a miracle tomorrow. If they have to play with Delia or Soderblom, it will be a hill to climb. Both have been appalling in the net. The Blackhawks would get their third power play of the game early in the third. The top unit got the whole power play, and they would move the puck well and generate a few shots, but the struggles continued, and they couldn’t find a way to score. The unit of Toews, DeBrincat, Kane, Seth Jones, and Dach in the bumper roll has looked good, and King should leave them together. The Third was relatively dull, and neither team generated much as Nashville was starting to just protect the ginormous lead. The game would finish 6-1.

Kurashev has been better and played a more active, consistent game since returning from Rockford. He was the best player for the Hawks versus the Predators and played a lot more intensity and consistency to his game. King should look at giving him a shot on a top line. Kubalik was also willing to fire the puck tonight. This is a good thing for his value if the Blackhawks decide to move on from him at the deadline. He finished the game with four shots on goal. He couldn’t score, but he was shooting with confidence, something lacking from his game this season.

Chicago just needs to take this game and throw it in the trash. They will look better on the stat sheet, but they had too many significant breakdowns that cost them tonight. Paring that with the repulsive goaltending was a mixture of devastation. Chicago will need to regroup fast as they play Calgary tomorrow in Chicago. Let’s all hope Fleury is somehow cleared to play. I would expect Soderblom to start tomorrow after Delia blew his chance tonight. Chicago’s power play did move the puck well tonight even though they went 0-4 on it. The frustrations showed when Kane shattered his stick returning to the bench on the final power play. They are getting the chances, and the puck will start to go in the net if they continue the play of the power play. Let’s hope the Blackhawks get a good night’s rest and regroup for the game versus the Flames.

Clifton Ramey

Born and raised in Florida. My mom was raised on the south side of Chicago that's where my Blackhawks fandom comes from. I have played hockey my whole life, including losing in the National Championship game in 2010 with the Gulf Coast Flames. I love hockey and the NHL.

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