( Christian Petersen -Getty Images)

0-8-1. That is worse than the start the Columbus Blue Jackets got off to at the beginning of the season. I hope all the jerks taking their kids to Disney on Ice are having a great time – because its killing the Chicago Blackhawks.

Admit it, with the way things have been going lately for the Blackahwks, you thought a goal was coming after Dave Bolland’s terrible penalty early in the 1st.  Quite a way to start a must win game, eh? In any case, the Hawks got out of trouble and the teams traded penalties in the early part of the game – including a glorious goaltender interference penalty on Jonathan Toews where he just totally ran over Pekka Rinne. Neither team was able to capitalize on their early man advantages.

The Predators didn’t get many shots in the 1st, but came very close to going up 1-0 midway through, but Mike Fisher fanned on a wide open net right at end of the 2nd Predators powerplay.

Despite that bit of luck for the Hawks, Nashville still managed to grab the lead after a horrible Toews turnover in the neutral zone. Sergei Kostitsyn carried the puck into the Hawks zone and after a beautful give and go with Fischer, set up a streaking Ryan Suter who fired a wrist shot over the stick of Ray Emery. But their lead wouldn’t last long. Just under a minute later, instead of firing a long shot on Rinne or dumping it in the corner, Jamal Mayers found a trailing Bryan Bickell who fired a wrist shot from the top of the circles past Rinne.  At the end of the 1st  the Blackhawks were out-shooting the Preds by a count of 10-5, but went to the locker room locked in a 1-1 tie.

The Hawks came out and played pretty good hockey for the first 17 minutes of the 2nd period. However, they couldn’t get anything past  Rinne, who made some great saves (including a glove stop  on Jonathan Toews who was robbed after a great set-up from Sami Lepisto). The Hawks had a chance to take the lead after Roman Josi went to the box for tripping – but they were unable to convert. Again, credit Rinne for making a couple of great stops.

With  2:39 to go in the period, a long Ryan Ellis blast was redirected by Nick Spalding past a screened Emery who had no chance to stop the shot. The Predators took a 2-1 lead into the 2nd intermission.

Something must have been said in the locker-room by someone between periods, because the Blackhawks came out flying to start the 3rd . After coming up short on several good chances, Marian Hossa was able to settle down a bouncing puck and wrist it past Rinne after Marcus Kruger and Andrew Brunette did great work to win a battle along the wall. Things were looking up for the Hawks….but disaster struck late in the period.With just under 6 minutes to go,  Ellis took long blast from the right point which found its way through the five-hole of Emery. At first, most thought that it should have been an easy stop, but the reply showed the shot was deflected off the stick of Duncan Keith.


A couple of quick things:

♦ Here is the shift chart.   Q clearly had beefs with Lepisto and Viktor Stalberg.

♦ The Hawks deserved better than this tonight. Their defense tightened up considerably and they were winning battles all over the ice most of the evening.

♦ You can’t put the blame on Emery tonight  but that 3rd Nashville goal really has to be stopped – deflection or no deflection.

♦ The passing by the Preds on their 1st goal was really a sight to behold. I think Nick Leddy still trying to figure out what happened.

♦Quenneville tried to be positive in the press conference – but it still looked like he just went about 14 rounds with Mike Tyson.

♦ You can see the frustration starting to settle in with some of the players too. Toews gave Suter a shot right after he scored his goal and Hossa went nuts after an offside call following the 3rd Nashville goal – slamming his stick violently against the glass.

♦ Things aren’t getting any easier for the Hawks. They travel to New York to take on the Eastern Conference leading Rangers on Thursday. Pray for a Martin Biron appearance in that game. I, for one, want no part of  Henrik Lundqvist.

♦While the Hawks are on a 0-6-1 road trip, Detroit won their 21st straight home game this evening. See, who said both teams couldn’t make history at the same time?