Jonathan Toews was one of the last people in the hockey world to learn he had a new linemate.
At the first television timeout Thursday night, United Center public address announcer Gene Honda broke the news to the crowd that the Blackhawks had acquired Andrew Ladd. Down on the ice, Toews couldn’t quite make out the announcement. But it wasn’t hard to figure it out.
“I didn’t know until I saw him up there [on the scoreboard] and figured that’s what the announcement must be about,” Toews said. “What else could it be, you know?”
The Ladd announcement elicited the biggest cheer of the night, as the Hawks lost 3-1 to the Nashville Predators. So the Ladd news didn’t give the Hawks enough of a boost to get them past a red-hot Predators team that is 8-0-2 in its last 10 road games, and 5-0-3 in its last eight games overall.
“It should have, but it didn’t, [based] on the result,” Toews said. “I don’t think we played a bad game, it just didn’t fall our way at the end.”
Calle Jarnkrok one-timed a Mike Fisher pass past Corey Crawford with 1:51 left in the game to lift the Predators to the victory. It was the Hawks’ second straight loss, but not nearly as poor a showing as they had in Sunday’s 6-1 outdoor loss to the Minnesota Wild. Pekka Rinne all but stole this one with 38 saves. He was brilliant from the outset, robbing Toews twice in the first period, then again in the second. He also gloved an Andrew Shaw breakaway attempt in the final minute of the second period.
After a scoreless first, Brent Seabrook got the Hawks on the board at 5:27 of the second, blasting a one-timer in the slot, off a Jiri Sekac feed, past Rinne. But the Predators tied it less than four minutes later on Viktor Arvidsson’s goal. The game remained tied until Jarnkrok hammered home a one-timer at 18:09. Miikka Salomaki added an empty-netter for the Predators.
The Winnipeg Jets did the Hawks another favor by knocking off the Dallas Stars, but the Hawks couldn’t take advantage and leapfrog them into first place.
“We didn’t give up a chance until they scored in the third, but we didn’t generate a whole lot,” Joel Quenneville said. “We didn’t have the finish today. Their goalie played good. Certainly disappointed we didn’t get anything, with the scores going on in our division tonight.”