On Tuesday night, the Nashville Predators looked to stymie the play of the Chicago Blackhawks and end their 11-game winning streak. The Preds would welcome the Blackhawks into Bridgestone Arena which was a mix of red and gold.
The Preds would hang tough during the first period of play. It seemed as though there was tentativeness amongst both teams to not make a mistake. Late in the period, Artem Anisimov (16) was able to put back a rebound to give Chicago the 1-0 lead at 19:38.
Chicago came out with a fury during the second period as Richard Panik (2) put the Blackhawks up 2-0 at 2:43. The Preds would exact a little revenge 25 seconds later as Ryan Ellis scored his sixth goal of the season at 3:08.
Exactly sixty seconds after the Ellis goal, Patrick Kane scored his 30th goal of the season on a breakaway goal to put Chicago up 3-1.
With Nashville trying to get back into the game during the final period of play, coach Peter Laviolette pulled Pekka Rinne for the extra attacker. Andrew Desjardins (6) put the nail in the coffin for the Preds with an empty net goal to give Chicago a 4-1 victory in Nashville.
Tonight, the Predators will go north of the border to take on the Winnipeg Jets.
Keys to Watch
There’s no secret that all stakeholders in the Nashville Predators organization are frustrated in the recent performance of this team. From the players to the fans, there is a growing sentiment that this team is on the verge of a collapse if the ship isn’t righted immediately. Nashville has to fix something quick. So far this season, Rinne has been bad, the offense has been inconsistent, and the Preds seem to be fighting an uphill battle. Hopefully, we can look back at this four-game road trip through Western Canada as the turning point of the season.
Hutton or Rinne
Tonight, Pekka Rinne is the projected starter against the Winnipeg Jets. Rinne has not won a game in nearly three weeks (Carolina, 1/2). From initial observations, Rinne seems to be giving up too many rebounds. Traditionally, he is able to use his glove more effectively. His confidence is shaken at the moment. How does he get it back? Rinne has to play well. There are many that are calling for Carter Hutton to be the starter. Pump the brakes! When Rinne is playing well, he is one of the best in the world. Will he get his confidence back? Only time will tell…
On the opposing side, the Preds need to keep an eye on Blake Wheeler. Over the last five games, Wheeler has been one of the top players on their roster getting three goals and one assist, two of the three goals were game-winners. On the season, the Plymouth, MN native has 13 goals and 31 assists to lead his team with 41 points. The Preds will have to be aware of #26 to make sure he doesn’t get many chances.
Tonight, the Preds will look to ensure that this current losing trend ends in Winnipeg. Be sure to catch all of the action on Fox Sports-Tennessee or you can listen live on 102.5 The Game. Puck drops at 7:00 pm!