CHISportsNation

The Blackhawks struggled to create any offense in their first postseason game against the Nashville Predators. The second and third periods were much better for the Hawks. It would have been very difficult for them to be worse than the first, because the Hawks went on a 13 minute span without recording a single shot on goal. Although they brought increased effort in the final two periods, they could not find a way to get the puck past Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Similar to many games in the regular season, the Hawks began with a very slow start in the first period. They struggled to come up with scoring chances early on, but the defense and Corey Crawford kept the torpid offense in the game. Viktor Arvidsson scored what would turn out to be the game’s only goal just under eight minutes into the game. Corey Crawford would shut down Nashville the rest of the way with 19 saves. Pekka Rinne earned his second career postseason shutout, turning away all 29 Blackhawks shots. The Predators’ Game 1 victory marked the first time the franchise has ever recorded a playoff shutout on the road.

On the offensive side for the Blackhawks, Artem Anisimov returned from injury and jumped right back to his natural spot in the lineup, the center between Kane and Panarin. He recorded a couple of shots on goal, but like every other Blackhawk tonight, could not finish. Nick Schmaltz saw some time on the bench during this game during the second period. He did not remain there long, because the Hawks needed all the offensive help they could get on Thursday night.

Despite the loss, the final two periods of Game 1 can be used as building blocks for the Hawks going forward. They could not find the equalizer against Pekka Rinne, but the chances were there, and there is no question that the Hawks will eventually convert when given good chances.

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