Niemi bounces back with Game 2 shutout
After giving up a couple softies in Game 1, people wondered if Antti Niemi would come out flat again in Game 2. Nothing could have been further from the truth, as he turned in a 23 save shutout for the first playoff shutout earned by a Blackhawk since Eddie Belfour recorded one in ‘96.
The Predators got great work again from Pekka Rinne and their stifling defense, holding the high-octane Blackhawk offense to just 2 goals on 33 shots. It’s not enough just to limit offense, though, you have to produce some of your own, and that’s an area the Predators have struggled all year. The Preds could use some work on their powerplay too, as they failed to convert any of their 5 chances in this one. >
Dave Bolland got the Hawks on the board in the 2nd, after having a goal disallowed in the first, scoring a powerplay goal midway through the period while Jordin Tootoo served an ill-advised penalty earned by tripping up the Chicago netminder. Early in the 3rd, Pat Kane unleashed a laser of a wrister on an oddman rush that no one, including Rinne, saw until it bounced back out of the net.
Chicago’s ability to play Nashville’s style of game was very impressive. The Hawks are usually an up and down the ice team that likes to score off the rush and keep the game wide open. The Preds, on the other hand, prefer to grind games down and keep things tight, which they did to perfection in Game 1. Chicago’s ability to beat Nashville at their own game is exactly why I think the Hawks will come out of this series on top.
Related news & articles
Wednesday April 28
For the 2nd straight postseason, the Chicago Blackhawks will tangle with the Vancouver Canucks in the Western Conference semifinals. More
Saturday April 17
The Blackhawks and Predators were the final series to get underway this postseason, but in the spirit of the underdog success we’ve seen in the other series, it wasn’t all that surprising to see the Preds come out on top of this one. More
Monday April 26
After dropping Game 3 in Nashville, the Blackhawks were looking a bit uncertain about their first round matchup with the Predators. More
Monday April 26
In one of the strangest finishes to a playoff game I’ve seen in quite some time, the Chicago Blackhawks got a game-tying goal from Patrick Kane while shorthanded, and the offending player, Marian Hossa, scored the game winning goal in overtime just seconds after his penalty ended. More