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Blackhawks lose puck-possession battle again, fall to Predators in shootout

Coach Jeremy Colliton said he was pleased with the team’s response after Tuesday’s awful showing, but the numbers didn’t show that much improvement.

The Predators out-shot the Blackhawks 42-30 Wednesday en route to a 2-1 shootout win.
AP Photos

For the second time in as many nights, the Blackhawks found themselves on the wrong end of the puck-possession battle.

The Predators played better throughout most of regulation again, overcame another stellar performance by a Hawks goaltender — this time Kevin Lankinen — and emerged with a 2-1 shootout victory Wednesday.

The Hawks have earned at least a point in five consecutive games but have lost three of those and remain winless on the road.

Nashville again finished with substantial advantages in shots (72-58), shots on goal (42-30) and scoring chances (38-31), particularly in the third period, when they nearly doubled up the Hawks in each category.

Coach Jeremy Colliton nonetheless was the mirror image of his upset self from the night before.

“I’m fairly happy with the effort,” he said. “We’d like to give up a little less and create a little bit more. But the first two periods, we — through our tracking — gave up one even-strength chance. They had a few in the third; [in] overtime, we had more than our share. Overall, I’m going to focus on the response of the team. They played hard.”

Brandon Hagel, whose exceptional speed was noticeable yet again, was a bright spot for the Hawks.

He earned his first NHL point with the primary assist on Ryan Carpenter’s game-tying goal with 10:36 left in regulation.

Lankinen, like Malcolm Subban on Tuesday, was another bright spot. His 41 stops upped his save percentage through his first four career starts to .931.

“I feel good out there,” Lankinen said. “I’m just happy to get better every day. Every experience is a new one, and I’m going to get better every night.”

But there weren’t many other positives beyond those two.

Patrick Kane and Nikita Zadorov, two key players whom Colliton called out Tuesday, struggled again.

Zadorov saw his ice time hit a season-low 14:20. The Preds had more chances (15-8) than the Hawks with Kane on the ice, and he missed badly on a good look to win the game in overtime.

The Hawks deployed an atypical lineup with 11 forwards and seven defensemen, dressing defenseman Nicolas Beaudin for his second NHL game and also keeping defenseman Lucas Carlsson active.

Lucas Wallmark, labeled a healthy scratch the last two games, moved onto the NHL’s COVID-19 protocol list, further denting the Hawks’ depth and increasing worries of an outbreak.