Monday's game against the Predators could have easily been a runaway for the Blackhawks.
After earning a 2-0 lead and whopping 27-11 edge in shots on goal by the end of the second period, the game appeared just about over. As it turned out, that wasn't the case.
After a tough go, the Predators changed their pace in the third period, tying the game by the end of regulation. Yet a five-round shootout resulted in a 3-2 win by the Blackhawks.
Needless to say, the late-game comeback and point Nashville earned wasn't nearly enough to satisfy their team.
"One point," Predators defenseman Kevin Klein firmly responded when asked what to make of Monday's game. "We were lucky to get a point, we played terrible the first two periods we played. We played three quarters of the third period. That's about it. [Goaltender Pekka Rinne] held us in there and luckily we got a point."
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Just what went wrong for Nashville during the first two periods?
"I don't know, it seems to be our (problem) a lot, we just take half a game off and we can't do that against these guys," Klein said. "Luckily we did a good job battling in the third."
The Predators weren't the only unhappy team. Despite playing two strong periods, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews recognized the need to improve third-period play.
"It’s a reoccurring theme lately with teams coming at us hard in the third period," Toews said. "We have to make sure it’s our best period going forward. That’s gotta be at the forefront of our mindset. Our preparation going into the third periods from now on, whether we have the lead or not, we gotta play right until the end. And if we have leads we don’t need to score goals, we just need to keep them out of our net.
Monday was just the first of four matchups the Blackhawks and Predators are scheduled to play against each other before the end of the season. Despite the weak start, rookie Taylor Beck, who recorded the tying goal for Nashville, is confident his team can give the Blackhawks a run for their money throughout the remainder of the regular season.
"We know we can play with them," Beck said. "In the third period we played great, we had a ton of chances there late in the third and we could have easily gotten a third goal there and not even went to overtime."
Inside the walls of the visiting locker room, it was clear Nashville would take Monday's game as a lesson as their battle for a playoff spot continues. After keeping his team in the running the majority of the game, Rinne pointed out just where the Predators need to improve if they want a chance against the Blackhawks throughout the rest of the month.
"Any time you play against Chicago, you have to be good defensively," Rinne said. "Being smart, being disciplined and not take penalties. I think those are the three things that come to my mind when you play against Chicago. But at the same time, it's always a lot of fun to play against them."