Predators beat Blackhawks 1-0 in Game 1

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 25: Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks looks to pass against Mattias Ekholm #14 of the Nashville Predators at the United Center on February 25, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The predators defeated the Blackhawks 3-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

by Scott King
@ScottKingMedia

The roaring of the fans at the United Center during the National Anthem reached a level beyond the cheers of the regular season. In Game 1 Thursday night, the Blackhawks’ play would have to reach another level as well against their first round opponent the Nashville Predators.

They’d get there, but not for an entire 60 minutes.

Things started out on par as Jonathan Toews won the opening faceoff and the Hawks dictated the pace for around the first eight minutes.

Then Viktor Arvidsson scored to make it 1-0 Nashville, marking the fifth consecutive year the Hawks had allowed the first goal in their opener.

The Blackhawks were held over 13 minutes without a shot on goal in the first period. They got one from center ice five seconds before the first intermission.

The Hawks managed to put up 12 shots on goal in the second period to lead the Preds in shots 18-15 after two. Despite coming up empty in the second period, the Hawks camped out in the Preds’ zone and dictated the pace throughout.

In the third period, there were spurts in which the Hawks continued to push the pace, but Nashville was there every step of the way. Chicago pulled goaltender Corey Crawford near the 2:00 mark in desperation to have an extra attacker.

Head coach Joel Quenneville later called a timeout with 1:01 remaining. As much as it felt like something was going to happen for the Hawks Thursday night, it didn’t. The home team led in shots 29-20, but they dropped game one 1-0 and now trail in the series to Nashville 1-0.

“It was overall a good game for us,” Crawford said following the first playoff contest. “Just one of those tight, tight games. For us right now, we have to just keep getting better in this series. That was a pretty good game for us, but for sure we have better.

“We didn’t give up too many chances. They made a great play to start the game. That was the only one that went in.”

Veteran¬†winger Patrick Kane, who made the long haul three times through to playoffs to hoist the Stanley Cup, knows when it comes to the postseason, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

“It’s our first game of the playoffs this season. You kind of get used to the intensity, how everything ramps up, how every shift is important. Not only for the young guys in here, but for a lot of us, it’s important to get used to playing that playoff style of hockey again, get back to doing the little things right.”

The Hawks get another shot at the Preds in Game 2 on Saturday at 7:00 PM in Chicago.

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