Tag: Patrick Kane

Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith

That’s Darling: Blackhawks win OT thriller against Preds


The Chicago Blackhawks edged the Nashville Predators 4-3 in double overtime in a game that had just about everything.

Most obviously, it had a huge comeback, as the Blackhawks shrugged off a 3-0 deficit after the first period to win a dramatic contest.

It also had some controversy, as Duncan Keith may have gotten away with a penalty in the first OT. He then proved to be the hero as he scored the game-winner.

Some will say this was a collapse, and to some extent, it was. Still, it’s not as if the Predators went into full turtle mode in this game. Scott Darling tormented Nashville from the moment he took over for Corey Crawford, making all 42 shots in more than three periods of dazzling work.

The Predators fired a franchise playoff-record 54 shots on goal, but only scored against Crawford. Some may be sour about this Keith non-penalty, but the bottom line is that Nashville is down 1-0.

Patrick Kane made a difference, grabbing two assists, including this impressive helper:

Losing a lengthy, fast-paced game obviously has to sting Nashville, especially since they dropped this one at home. Still, if Game 1 is any indication, this could be a first-round series for the ages.

Here’s one fearless prediction: the Predators will face Scott Darling from the first puck drop of Game 1. That’s not official, however:

In fact, maybe it should be a fearful prediction:

Either way, Darling made an impression on Wednesday.

Playoff infirmary report: Who’s hurt, who’s coming back?


Patrick Kane, Chicago (broken clavicle)

Originally thought to be out for 12 weeks, Kane cut his recovery time nearly in half and will suit up for Game 1 of Chicago’s series against Nashville. Kane hasn’t played since Feb. 24 but was lighting it up — as per usual — prior to getting hurt, with 64 points in 61 games.

Mark Giordano, Calgary (torn biceps)

There was some optimism earlier in the week when the Flames captain resumed skating and told reporters “I feel like hopefully the rehab is going better than expected.” That said, the injury and subsequent surgery came with a 4-5 month recovery period, so any possible Giordano comeback would come in much later playoff rounds.

Max Pacioretty, Montreal (upper-body)

Pacioretty, Montreal’s leading goalscorer with 37, has been out since getting knocked into the boards versus Florida in the third-final game of the season. He’s been ruled out of Game 1 against Ottawa and Habs head coach Michel Therrien is playing it coy about a potential return date.

Kris Letang, Pittsburgh (concussion)

Letang is unlikely to return this season following a hit from Arizona captain Shane Doan in late March.

Christian Ehrhoff, Pittsburgh (concussion)

Though he’s been cleared for contact, the Pens d-man won’t be available for Game 1. Neither will fellow blueliner Derrick Pouliot.

Travis Hamonic, New York Islanders (undisclosed)

Details on the d-man’s health are far and few between. Will the Isles say what his injury is? No. Have they given a timetable for return? No. All we really know is that Hamonic hasn’t been on the ice at all since taking a hipcheck from Pittsburgh’s Rob Scuderi last Friday, and his status is uncertain.

Kevin Klein, New York Rangers (broken arm)

Out since mid-March, the Rangers blueliner was originally expected to be ready for the playoffs — but now it sounds like his Game 1 status is in question. Klein also didn’t practice on Wednesday, casting further doubt on his ability to suit up for the opener against Pittsburgh.

Jason Garrison, Tampa Bay (upper-body)

When the Bolts d-man was hurt in late March, the club put a 3-4 week timetable on his return. As such, Garrison likely won’t be available for the early parts of the Detroit series; that said, the Lightning did get some good news as fellow blueliners Braydon Coburn and Andrej Sustr looked as though they’d be back in.

Mike Fisher, Nashville (lower-body)

The veteran Preds center missed the final two games of the year, but will draw in for Game 1 against Chicago.

John Gibson, Anaheim (upper-body)

After picking up a knock in practice, Gibson didn’t skate on Wednesday — which points to Frederik Andersen getting the start for Anaheim in Game 1 of its series against the Jets. At this point, it’s worth monitoring this situation to see if Gibson is even healthy enough to back up, as the Ducks have recalled veteran Jason LaBarbera from AHL Norfolk.

Mathieu Perreault, Winnipeg (lower body)

Injured in last Thursday’s shootout loss to Colorado, Perreault hasn’t been practicing or skating but, per Jets head coach Paul Maurice, he is getting better.

“We don’t want to turn it into a bigger problem than it is,” Maurice said, per the Free Press. “He’ll get back out on the ice. He may play based on how he feels after he skates. I expect him to go sooner rather than later.”

Justin Abdelkader, Detroit (hand)

Injured blocking a shot late in the season, Abdelkader is listed as questionable for Game 1 against Tampa Bay. His official status will be announced following the morning skate.

NHL on NBCSN: Preds, ‘Hawks look to snap skids in series opener

Peter Laviolette

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign tonight as the Nashville Predators host the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their first round matchup at Bridgestone Arena with puck drop at 8:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

For the second time in five seasons the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators will meet in the playoffs. Chicago used six games to dispatch Nashville in the first round of the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs on the way to capturing the franchise’s first cup since 1961.

Both teams enter the playoffs trying to shake losing skids.

Chicago lost four straight to conclude the regular season while Nashville went 0-4-2 after clinching its first playoff berth in three seasons. The skid forced the Preds, who led the Central Division for much of the season, to finish second behind St. Louis.

The Blackhawks took the season series winning three games, but the Central Division foes have not met since Dec. 29.

Chicago expects to get a boost from the return of Patrick Kane, who has been cleared for ‘full participation’. Kane had 27 goals and 64 points prior to being sidelined with a fractured left clavicle on Feb. 24.

Antoine Vermette, who was acquired by Chicago from Arizona prior to the trade deadline, could be a healthy scratch in the series opener.

The Predators hope goaltender Pekka Rinne can regain his form, which saw him finish tied for second in the league with 41 wins. Rinne dropped his final four starts of the season posting a 3.42 G.A.A. and an .857 save percentage.

Nashville owned the Western Conference’s top home record at 28-9-4 this season while Chicago went 24-16-1 on the road.

(Related) Pressing Playoff Question: Can the Blackhawks flip the switch?

Pressing Playoff Question: Can the Blackhawks flip the switch?


Chicago is headed to the postseason, but it hasn’t played like a Stanley Cup favorite in a while. After a 25-10-2 start to the regular season, the Blackhawks went just 23-18-4 in their final 45 contests. If you expanded that point-per-game pace over an 82-game stretch, then you would be left with a team that finished between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche. In other words, out of the playoffs.

A big reason for that has been Chicago’s dreadful offense. The Blackhawks ranked 26th in the league with just 2.23 goals per game since the All-Star break and scored just five goals in their final four games — all losses.

Is that cause for concern given what this team is capable of? Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews doesn’t seem to think so.

“We wanted to win the last couple of games; we just didn’t quite get the job done,” Toews said, per ESPN.com. “We’re not going to panic or overreact by any means. I think we’re doing a lot of good things, and the energy and motivation is going to be there at the right time.”

The Blackhawks haven’t absolutely needed that “energy and motivation” Toews is referring to for a while now, but perhaps that will cost them. While Chicago had the luxury of just meandering into the dance, other teams have had to dig and claw their way in. Clubs like Minnesota, Winnipeg, and Calgary have been in playoff mode for a while now, while others like the Ducks and Blues finished the regular season on high notes that they can carry into the playoffs. (Unlike last year for the Blues, when they lost their final six of the regular season then were eliminated in the first round.)

At least it’s starting to look like Patrick Kane might be ready for Game 1. Getting him back will obviously help with their recent offensive woes, although it is worth noting that he last played on Feb. 24 and their struggles date back further than that. He may also not be the Kane of old right away.

Perhaps the best counter-argument to the notion that Chicago has a momentum problem is its opponent: Nashville. If Chicago had to play against the likes of Minnesota, then there would be a direct contrast between a club that limped towards the finish line and one that excelled in the second half of the campaign. The Predators finished the season with a 6-12-3 run though and are on a six-game losing streak. The lifeblood of their team, goalie Pekka Rinne, has posted a pedestrian 2.48 GAA and .911 save percentage since the All-Star break, while none of the Predators’ forwards recorded 25 or more points in their final 37 games.

In that sense, perhaps Nashville is the ideal opponent for Chicago as it aims to switch into playoff mode.

Related: Is everything OK with the Blackhawks?

Blackhawks clear Kane for ‘full participation’

Patrick Kane

The Chicago Blackhawks have cleared forward Patrick Kane for full participation. Kane, who missed the final 21 regular season games with a broken left clavicle, has not played since Feb. 24.

Here’s the official statement from Blackhawks physician Dr. Michael Terry:

“Patrick Kane suffered a broken left clavicle on February 24, and underwent successful surgery to repair the fracture on February 25. Patrick has been working extremely diligently with his rehabilitation and has recently returned to full-contact practice without any difficulty. After discussions with Patrick and the team, and examining Patrick today, we collectively feel it is appropriate, with minimal risk, for him to return to full participation.”

Kane was a participant at Blackhawks practice Monday.

If he plays in Game 1 on Wednesday, it would be seven weeks since he was sidelined.

“I’ve done a lot to try to get myself, whether it’s healed as fast as possible or feeling good as fast as possible, whatever you want to call it,” Kane said following today’s practice. “I’ve done a lot of different things to try and make that happen.

“I’m pretty happy with the progress so far.”

The 26-year-old had 27 goals and 64 points in 61 games prior to being sidelined.