The Nashville Predators dropped their second consecutive game on the road to the Chicago Blackhawks. With this 2-1 loss, Nashville moves to 22-11-2 with 46 points, and officially move to second place in the Central Division. 

Nashville Key Stats

Goals

Kevin Fiala

Assists

Ryan Johansen, Mattias Ekholm

Chicago Key Stats

Goals

Gustav Forsling, Erik Gustafsson

Assists

Patrick Kane, Jonathon Toews

What Happened

Chicago controlled the tempo for most of the first period. Nashville did everything but hand the puck to the Blackhawks, but fortunately for Nashville, Pekka Rinne was absolutely spectacular; he steered away 12 shots. As the Predators cleaned up the turnovers, Fiala sniped one top shelf over Cam Ward with 33 seconds left in the period. 

The Blackhawks kept up their intensity in the second period, and it eventually paid off. At 15:22, Forsling slipped through the Nashville defense and wired a shot off the pipe and in. As the period was winding down, Chicago was granted their second power play after Grimaldi’s stick caught a Blackhawk skate. Gustafsson tied it, and Chicago held a well deserved 2-1 lead at the end of two.

Nashville picked up the pace in the third period, but it was too little, too late. Neither team scored, and Chicago held on to claim victory. 

Looking Forward

Nashville hasn’t won on the road since November 10th. I’ve stated this in previous articles, but it keeps getting worse. The Predators won their first eight road games, but have dropped their last eight.

Austin Watson has registered 10 hits in the last two games, including three against Chicago. He’s also thrown the puck on net six times, splitting both road games at three apiece. Watson has contributed at both ends of the ice as of late.

Fiala, the lone goal scorer, recorded 6 shots on goal. He’s recently started a point streak, scoring in back-to-back games. Fiala also ended a six-game goal drought and is on pace for 14 goals and 40 points. 

Craig Smith and Roman Josi, the two driving forces against the Ottawa Senators, went almost unnoticed against Chicago. The two skaters combined for four shots on goal. 

Colton Sissons rolled his ankle late in the third period. Nashville cannot afford another injury at this point, even if Viktor Arvidsson and P.K. Subban are skating with the team again. 

Since December 1st, Nashville’s PK has killed off 22 of 25 penalties. An 88% success rate says one thing: this team has the potential to dominate in all aspects of the game if they play to their potential. 

Losing to Chicago always stings, but on the bright side, Rinne made 34 saves, and kept Nashville in the game. The road woes will eventually be solved, but for right now, it’s about finding a way to win. 

Also, Ryan Johansen has five shots on goal in his last six games, yet has five assists in that time frame as well. Just found that interesting. 

-Jack Woods covers the Nashville Predators and the Central Division for FullPressCoverage.com and PenaltyBoxRadio.com. You can follow Jack on Twitter at @jack_woods15 and the Full Press Predators at @FPC_Predators

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