Blackhawks’ ineptitude against Predators continues in loss Sundayon March 29, 2021 at 2:40 am

Forward Dylan Strome missed the Blackhawks’ game Sunday against the Predators because of the birth of his first child, daughter Weslie.

Outside of a two-minute takeover by best friend Alex DeBrincat, he didn’t miss much.

In a near-replay of the game Saturday, the Hawks were flummoxed by Nashville’s active forecheck and unable to find openings in the offensive zone for most of the night. DeBrincat’s two goals in the third period briefly gave them life, but the result was a 3-2 loss.

The Hawks remained winless in four meetings against the Preds this season, having scored just six goals in those games, and now trail them in the race for the Central Division’s last playoff spot.

“I’m disappointed in the response, beginning in the first period, [of] just understanding how big the game was,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “It was too easy for [the Predators] to create chances, and on the flip side, they did a good job of keeping us to the outside.”

The Preds produced 26 scoring chances and held the Hawks to 12 — tied for their fewest in a game since March 2017. The Hawks also recorded only one shot on goal in three dismal power plays.

DeBrincat nonetheless beat goalie Pekka Rinne with a one-timer with 12:25 left, then blew past defenseman Dante Fabbro and around Rinne to tie the score with 10:35 to play.

But a sequence of blown coverages in the defensive zone gave Roman Josi an easy look on the tiebreaking goal with 6:33 left.

“Those are games that we’re going to have to win down the stretch to make it the playoffs,” DeBrincat said. “We did a good job coming back, but we’ve got to stick with it and be able to hold that tie to the end.”

Beaudin back with Hawks

Rookie defenseman Nicolas Beaudin drew back into the Hawks’ lineup for consecutive games Saturday and Sunday for the first time since Feb. 17 and 19.

Beaudin, who was a regular earlier this season, said he was able to continue his development seamlessly with Rockford of the American Hockey League, where he had nine points in six games while handling a massive 25-minute-per-game role.

“It was good for me to go there and play some games just to keep my momentum going,” Beaudin said. “For me, [the priority is to] play as many games as I can. If it’s in Chicago, it’s in Chicago. If it’s in Rockford, it’s in Rockford.”

Beaudin’s analytical mind helps him to identify where he needs to improve and focus on those areas.

“I’m working on my gap, trying to angle guys, not going backward,” he said. “[And] I’m trying to work on retrieving pucks, escaping left-right, making some plays down low for breakouts.”

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