Hawks knock off Predators 5-3 to clinch playoff spot
The Hawks and Predators faced off for the third time this week and it was the same result as the previous two. With a chance to clinch a playoff spot on Sunday night, the Hawks needed a comeback in the third period to get a victory in this one.
As I discussed in Saturday’s recap, Ray Emery did get the start tonight for the Hawks for his second time in as many days. The Hawks were able to get off to a quick start as Andrew Shaw got his eighth goal of the year to get a 1-0 lead. It was the same story defensively for the Hawks again Sunday night as Nashville could only get away seven shots in the first. But with just a few minutes left in the first, the Predators were able a goal to even things up heading into the second after a bad giveaway by the Hawks in their own zone.
Bryan Bickell was able to get the Hawks the lead back quickly, scoring two minutes into the second period. Bickell almost had his second goal of the game moments later but was denied by Pekka Rinne on a warp around attempt. Three minutes later, Shea Weber was able to tie the game up again after Michael Frolik lost a defensive zone face off.
In the third period, Nashville was able to get their first lead of the game after David Legwand beat Emery on a wrap around goal. But the Hawks turned the tables on their recent third period collapses by making a great comeback in this one. Brandon Saad got it started as he found a loose puck in front of the net. With his fifth goal in five games, Saad is putting his name in serious consideration for the rookie of the year award. 55 seconds later, Patrick Kane feed Jonathan Toews who was able to blow one past Rinne to give the Hawks the 4-3 lead. Kane was able to add the empty net goal to finish the game 5-3.
Give credit to Coach Quenneville in this one as he switched up lines in third that generated the goals. Q decided to move Kane up with Toews and Saad and the move paid off perfectly. The Hawks became the first team to clinch a playoff spot on Sunday night. Just 10 games left on the season.
What’s next: The Hawks face off against the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night. Puck drop for 7:00 P.M. I expect to see Corey Crawford back in net.