CHICAGO -- Though the Chicago Blackhawks offense suffered without Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp in a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, it was their defense that put them in an early hole.
“I think scoring first was important,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “I thought we sagged off that first goal.”
That first goal came courtesy of a turnover by Sean O'Donnell.
“Two unfortunate giveaways there,” O’Donnell said. “Mine was the first one, and then there was the second one there, and you just can’t do that to a team like this.”
The Hawks have proven this season that you can’t turn the puck over to any team behind their own goal. After O’Donnell did it, Nick Leddy turned one over in nearly the same exact spot. The Predators scored on both of them.
“I didn’t see the first one,” Corey Crawford said. “The second one, I don’t know, they made a good play out in front.”
And after the second one, the normally mild-mannered Crawford smashed his goalie stick over the crossbar. It probably said a lot more about the Hawks’ overall frustrations on defense than just that one goal.
“There are some things that we need to tighten up,” O’Donnell said. “Overall we’ve had a good first half but there is room for improvement.”
Especially where championships are won -- on defense.
After Tuesday’s loss the Hawks are 9-15-3 without Jonathan Toews in the lineup since the beginning of his career.
Marian Hossa collected a primary assist on the Hawks’ only goal of the game to extend his current point streak to a season-long nine games (3G, 8A).
Dave Bolland scored his 15th goal of the season on a third-period power play. He has registered as many goals this season in 46 games as he did all of last season in 61 contests, and is just four shy of his career-best. Bolland also won a season-high 17-of-20 (85%) faceoffs, including 9-of-10 in the offensive zone.
Rookie Andrew Shaw led the Hawks in ice time with a career-high 21:37.
“For most of the first and the second we didn’t have anything going. We didn’t have any pace and they were stronger in the puck area. Very noticeable.” -- Quenneville, on the Hawks being shutout for the first 40 minutes.
“Things happen over time, I don’t measure that at all.” -- Quenneville, on the team’s inability to earn a shutout before the All-Star break.