Blackhawks’ lead proves short-lived in loss to Predators

“Winning is hard,” defenseman Connor Murphy said after the Hawks’ 4-2 defeat Wednesday, their 16th in their last 17 games.

SHARE Blackhawks’ lead proves short-lived in loss to Predators
The Predators rallied to beat the Blackhawks 4-2 on Wednesday.

The Predators rallied to beat the Blackhawks 4-2 on Wednesday.

Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Veteran defenseman Connor Murphy summed up the Blackhawks’ season in three simple words Wednesday: “Winning is hard.’’

Is it ever. The Hawks’ 4-2 loss to the Predators was their 16th in the last 17 games, a stretch of consistent ineptitude so long it’s almost impressive.

“If we have a couple of good shifts and feel like we’re getting rolling, we’re not staying disciplined enough to keep that going for a duration of time,” Murphy said.

In the Hawks’ video session Tuesday, coach Luke Richardson brought back some old clips from the Hawks’ first wins of the season: games against the Sharks and Kraken in October. The clips had teaching purposes, but they also were meant to remind the team of a time when things were going well.

For a brief moment against the Predators, that throwback looked like it might’ve done the trick. Murphy and MacKenzie Entwistle scored fluky goals 37 seconds apart in the second period to give the Hawks their first lead since Dec. 3 in New York.

But the Predators tied the game with five seconds left in the second period, reclaimed the lead 87 seconds into the third and controlled the rest of the night.

“We were in a position that we haven’t been in in a bit,” Richardson said. “We needed to be ready to battle a little harder. We won a lot of stick battles and physical battles behind the nets and around the blue lines in the first two periods. Then it wasn’t there in the third. That was the biggest problem.”

Tyler Johnson returned to the lineup and skated on the first line with Patrick Kane and Max Domi. They produced tons of chances but no results.

Defenseman Jake McCabe missed most of the game after taking a high stick but should be able to play Friday against the Blue Jackets, Richardson said.

Maybe Stalock

Goaltender Alex Stalock, activated off injured reserve this week, backed up Petr Mrazek and might start Friday.

It would be his first start since Nov. 1, when a collision with Islanders forward Casey Cizikas caused his concussion. His absence dragging on so long has been surprising to everyone.

“I thought it was going to be five days, to be honest,” Stalock said. “That’s just your mind, how it works. I thought, ‘[In] a week, I’ll be right back.’ But, unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.”

Setbacks were a problem throughout the recovery process, even though it was only the first known concussion of his career.

“It’s hard to describe until you go through it,” Stalock said. “You come to the rink feeling good in the morning. [Then] you go home, and you’ll just be sitting on the couch, and it hits you, whether it’s dizziness or lightheadedness and symptoms like that.”

Classic Foley

Beloved former Hawks play-by-play broadcaster Pat Foley has laid low since retiring at the end of last season.

But he’ll resurface Jan. 2 to call the Winter Classic, in which the Bruins will host the Penguins at Fenway Park, on the radio for Sports USA.

And another familiar face — Nick Olczyk, son of Eddie — will provide the color commentary alongside him.

Home whites

Old-school fans have had three opportunities already this season to enjoy home teams wearing white sweaters.

The Bruins and Stars donned white when hosting the Hawks in November. And on Wednesday, the Hawks showed off their white sweaters to the United Center crowd of 15,239 while the Predators wore yellow and blue.

The Latest
Whether they’re lobbying Congress on climate change or fighting poverty, they learned how to use their voices for positive change, the author of “Reclaiming Our Democracy” writes.
‘‘I don’t like the way the play was called,’’ Grifol said before the Sox’ 6-4 loss Friday to the Orioles.
“And that’s on getting a win in a packed arena, not just cause of one player on our charter flight,” Reese shared in a since-deleted post on X, formerly Twitter.
Notes: Lefty Drew Smyly likely will be activated this weekend in St. Louis.