Hawks overcome another bad third period

CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews was feeling as good as anyone in the team’s dressing room after a 3-2 shootout win over the Nashville Predators on Monday.

Toews enjoyed the win and loved seeing defenseman Michal Rozsival turn to his lone move -- a backhanded-shot -- to complete the shootout victory.

At the same time, Toews understood Monday could have gone the other way after a disastrous third period where the Predators outscored the Blackhawks 2-0 and outshot them 15-9. Toews felt fortunate to be celebrating a win.

“We got a good feeling in this locker room because we came out with two points,” said Toews, who had an assist on Brandon Saad's first-period goal. “It wasn’t how we wanted to finish the game in the third period. It’s a reoccurring theme with teams coming out hard against us in the third period.

“We got to make sure it’s our best period going forward. That’s got to be at the forefront of our mindset and our preparation going into third periods from now on whether we have the leads or not. We got to play right till the end. And if we have leads, we don’t have to score goals; we just have to keep them out of our net.”

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane was also bothered by the team’s third period. It felt too similar to when the Blackhawks lost to the Los Angeles Kings after being outscored 2-1 and outshot 17-9 in the period on March 25 and also when they fell to the Anaheim Ducks after being outscored 3-0 in the third period on March 20.

“I think we relaxed a little bit and maybe took it a little too easy and sat back,” Kane said of Monday’s effort. “I think when we do that it’s not the way we really want to play.

“It’s something I guess we got to figure out in here because it’s happened too many times lately. I think if we just play on the attack and make smart plays and make sure we’re not giving up anything, we’re going to be okay in those situations. I’m sure it’s something the coaches will address once again, and something players have to obviously execute, though.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville disagreed that there were similarities in Monday’s third period to the recent ones against Los Angeles and Anaheim. He thought the one major difference was those teams scored late third-period goals, while the Blackhawks fought back Monday after Nashville’s goals, which were scored in the first eight minutes of the third period.

Quenneville was especially pleased his team came out with two points.

“There was lot of time left in the game here and I thought we settled down,” Quenneville said. “But I didn’t like the way we were running around after the first goal, which is something we can learn from.

“Nice to see us (after) losing all that momentum to sustain it and get it to overtime and pick up the valuable extra point.”

With three more games against the Predators this season, Quenneville hopes his team now understands what they have to bring against them.

“They’re relentless and they find ways to keep themselves in games,” Quenneville said. “It’s the kind of game you can get beat at. Hopefully there’s a lesson there. You have to be relentless against them.”