Brian Campbell game-time decision for Blackhawks

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Thumbnail image for campbelldazed.jpgWith the Chicago Blackhawks largely snake-bitten in two of their three games against seventh-seed Nashville, word that Brian Campbell’s return being on the horizon must be welcome news for the offensively challenged team. Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago has the report.

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell is listed as a game-time decision Thursday for Game 4 against the Nashville Predators.

It is possibly paving the way for Campbell’s first action since March 14, when he was hit by Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin.

The sooner the better for Chicago, because their offense is ailing right now. John Glennon of the Tennessean provided a position-by-position breakdown regarding why the Predators are stifling the Blackhawks’ impressive offensive attack. Here are a few highlighted excerpts.

Goaltending. Outside of a few dangerous turnovers in the first period of Game 3, Pekka Rinne has been, well, impeccable.

One of his greatest strengths is that when he’s on his game, he gives up very little in the way of juicy rebounds. Chicago’s shots have been dying in Rinne’s glove or midsection as the Blackhawks wait in vain for rebounds.

Pekka Rinne is easily one of the most underrated goalies in the NHL, but perhaps the real surprise is that Antti Niemi has been a rock in net so far for Chicago. The Blackhawks cannot blame their goalie for their struggles (so far at least) but they can blame a goalie for their troubles. To some extent.

… Defensemen … But they’re also doing a good job in clearing rebounds and staying positionally strong. When Rinne has given up loose pucks following initial shots, the blueliners have been there to sweep them away. They’ve also done a good job of limiting slot opportunities. Chicago didn’t have many quality chances in the last two periods of Game 3.

Forwards. It’s a 200-foot commitment for Nashville’s forwards.

It might not always be fun to watch, but the Predators’ total commitment to defense keeps them in games and in the playoffs. Maybe someday Barry Trotz will get his due and receive a Jack Adams award.