10 Observations: Alex Stalock shines again as Blackhawks beat Predators

10 Observations: Stalock shines again as Hawks beat Preds originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators 2-1 at Bridgestone Arena on Thursday.

Here are 10 observations from the win:

1. On Thursday, the Predators were 13-0-3 in their last 16 games against Chicago. The Blackhawks finally defeated the Predators in regulation for the first time since December 18, 2018, in a 2-1 win at the United Center. Imagine that.

2. Alex Stalock got off to a shaky start but settled down after the first period, although it didn’t come without a few breath-holds, which I’ll get to in the next point. His key stop of the evening was Philip Tomasino, who had a breakaway in the first half of a 0-0 game but Stalock saved – he had to look back to make sure it didn’t slip past him. Stalock stopped 35 of 36 shots for a .972 save percentage. His shutout bid was broken with 23.6 seconds remaining. Ouch.

3. The Predators were awarded a second-half penalty after Stalock threw his bat at Rasmus Asplund, but they failed to capitalize on their attempt. Matt Duchene mishandled the puck and Stalock made an easy save. It was the third game in a row Stalock conceded a penalty on Tuesday against Boston when he denied David Pastrnak and Detroit last week when he stopped Dylan Larkin. A severe missed opportunity for the Predators.

4. The line of Joey Anderson, Boris Katchouk and Jujhar Khaira was by far the most effective trio for Chicago. When the three stood together on the ice with even strength, the Blackhawks led in shot attempts (19-8) and scoring chances (9-3) via natural stat trick. With the other three lines on the ice, the Blackhawks were behind in shot attempts (37-16) and scoring chances (17-7). Oh, I forgot to mention that Anderson scored his third goal in five games to give his team a 2-0 lead, which was the icing on the cake. They deserve this goal.

5. The Blackhawks scored the first goal for the sixth time in seven games. They have led 2-0 in four of their last six games. They’ve had some good starts lately, which was a big struggle for them early in the season.

6. Lukas Reichel scored his third career NHL goal, and it will likely be one of the odder ones he scores at this level. He and Andreas Athanasiou had a 2v1, and Reichel’s attempted pass to Athanasiou was cut short by Dante Fabbro, who ended up crashing into Juuse Saros. The puck then found its way in as the momentum carried it forward, and it happened while the net was detaching from its tether. It counted because the Predators knocked off the web themselves.

7. I found Caleb and Seth Jones’ pairing to be solid. They led the team again in the Ice Age, and the ice tilted in the Blackhawks’ favor while they were out there.

8th. With Jonathan Toews still out, Max Domi traded in and Cole Guttman out for the season with a shoulder injury, the Blackhawks’ center depth has taken a big hit. The Blackhawks have been one of the top faceoff teams all season, but they haven’t been as strong in that department lately.

9. Despite being sellers at the close, the Predators have been catching fire for the past few weeks. They are 8-3-1 in their last 12 games and are just four points away from the West’s last wildcard spot with three games. And that without their leading goalscorer Filip Forsberg. Who would have thought? I don’t think they’re going to go very far if they make the playoffs, but they’re fighting.

10 The Blackhawks signed future defenseman Wyatt Kaiser to a three-year entry-level contract on Tuesday. He joined the team on the five-game road trip but did not play in that game. They want him to get some practice first. He’s a good all-around defenseman and I’m excited to see how his game translates to the NHL level.

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Source : sports.yahoo.com

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