Hawks' frustration growing after losing to Preds again originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
It's no secret how significant this three-game series against the Nashville Predators is for the Blackhawks, who are in desperation mode as they fight for the No. 4 spot in the Central Division. It could essentially be the difference between making the playoffs and watching from home."It’s exciting that we have a mini three-game playoff series here," Patrick Kane said leading up to the series. "Hopefully we can gain some ground.""It’s pretty much a playoff series," echoed Alex DeBrincat. "This could change our season. If we really battle, I think we have a good chance."
Well, the Blackhawks got off to a tough start after falling to the Predators 5-2 on Monday at Bridgestone Arena. And it was the quick strikes that cost the Blackhawks, who gave up two goals in a 51-second span in the second period and two goals in an 18-second span in the opening minute of the third period.
"It sucks," DeBrincat said. "We have a few breakdowns, about two minutes of poor hockey, and they score four goals. We've got to be better."
With the loss, the Blackhawks slipped to 0-4-2 against the Predators this season and have scored only eight goals in those games. Nashville is the only team the Blackhawks haven't defeated yet and it's the one team they need to beat right now, given the Predators currently occupy that final playoff spot.
"For us to win these games, we have to be at close to our top level," head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "It’s a big challenge for us, a great challenge for us. We want to rise to it.
"For a lot of the game, we were very good. Ultimately, the mistakes that we made are tough to recover from. It's just tough to come back when you put yourself in a hole."
One of the big reasons why the Blackhawks haven't been able to solve the Predators is because they've given up the first goal in five of the six games. Over the last five, specifically, the Blackhawks have not held a lead at any point; that's 305 minutes of hockey.
The Predators just don't give up much and the Blackhawks must find a way to break through.
"The margin of error is small," Connor Murphy said. "Teams this time of year, if you’re going to play for a playoff spot, you have to be sharp for longer periods of the game. We weren’t sharp for long enough."
The Blackhawks will return to Chicago, where they will play seven of their final 10 games as they try to salvage whatever's left of the season. And they have to pick up four out of a possible four points against the Predators, preferably in regulation, to keep their hopes alive.
"We definitely showed what it should look like to give ourselves a chance to beat that team and we’re going to have to bring that next time out," Colliton said. "It’s still there for us. We know we probably need two of these three. Now we've got to respond."
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