Nashville Struggles to Find Game, Can’t Solve Forsberg
by Taylor Parks
Central Division foes clashed at Bridgestone Arena Tuesday night as the Chicago Blackhawks came in looking to change the tide of the first half of the season. Off a strong showing in Tampa Bay at the All Star game, Pekka Rinne was given an extra day of rest as Juuse Saros started in net for the Predators.
David Kampf got the scoring started for the Blackhawks at 3:03 as he buried a chance after a fortuitous bounce came off the glass right to his stick. During most of the first period, Chicago dictated the pace of the game, keeping Nashville on their heels throughout the first 20 minutes.
During the second period, Kyle Turris snapped his 11 game goalless streak as he beat Anton Forsberg on the blocker side to tie the game at one. Not to be outdone, Chicago stormed back to take the lead off of a Vinnie Hinostroza goal at 14:33 to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead.
Despite the home team’s best efforts, the Preds just could not solve Forsberg. Forsberg made several stellar saves and posted a career high in saves, including 21 in the third period, to lead the Blackhawks to a 2-1 win.
Three Things We Learned
Kicking the Dust Off
It was pretty obvious from the get go that this Predators team didn’t have the energy they usually do. They looked completely lost until the final minutes of the first period when Fiala gave them a spark. The Predators really found their tempo in the third period, but just couldn’t find a way past Anton Forsberg, who played a near perfect match in net.
Changes of the Defensive Guard
Down a goal and looking to find some answers, Peter Lavioletter changed up the defensive pairings. Much to my delight, Ekholm and Subban were paired together once again, and it looked fantastic. Will this be a forever pairing? Only time will tell, but they really did play a great game together in the third.
8 years $64 Million Dollars
I’m usually not critical of players, and I hardly every bring money into the equation, but I need to see some kind of return on the investment. Where is the RyJo we saw in the playoffs? The shutdown center with a little bit of swagger who you could count on in desperate times? Just imagine this team if he began to play like a top line center.
Predators return to the ice on Thursday night against the LA Kings at Bridgestone Arena.
*Photo Credit it USA Today, USTI