In the Blackhawks 2-1 shootout loss to the Predators on Wednesday, Chicago was once again under attack for much of the game. After a scoreless first period in which each team had just five shots on goal, it was all Predators there on out.
The Predators outshot the Blackhawks 42-20 in the game, but a stellar performance from rookie netminder Kevin Lankinen kept the visitors in the game.
In Lankinen’s fourth start of the season, he looked poised in net and made saves look easy. It wasn’t until early in the third period when Nashville finally got one past Lankinen, and the Blackhawks found themselves down one and struggling to generate any offense.
With just over ten minutes remaining in the game and trailing by one, the Blackhawks’ fourth line was finally rewarded for their hard work. Ryan Carpenter carried the puck into the zone and fed David Kampf on the outside. Kampf went cross-ice to Brandon Hagel who put the puck on net where Carpenter cleaned up the rebound to tie the game.
The fourth line of Kampf, Hagel, and Carpenter has undoubtedly been the Blackhawks’ most consistent line this season. Per Natural Stat Trick, the trio has generated 28 shots for and just 17 against in nearly 40 minutes of ice time. Carpenter’s third-period goal marked the first for that line on the season and came it came at the perfect time.
Kevin Lankinen was stellar tonight, stopping 41 of the 42 shots he faced. (That’s a .976 save percentage, by the way). In a three-way battle for the Blackhawks’ net, Lankinen has shown the most promise between the three goaltenders. He now holds a 2-0-2 record with a 2.25 goals-against average. He has faced an average of 32 shots a game and continues to find a way to make timely saves.
Ryan Carpenter finally found the back of the net tonight after being snake-bitten for much of the season. He’s currently tied for fourth on the team with 17 shots. In a season in which players need to over-perform to have any success, Carpenter is leading the way by elevating his play and providing much-needed offense.
What’s On Tap Next
The Blackhawks will be back on United Center this weekend when the Columbus Blue Jackets come to town for a two-game series. The first installment will take place on Friday, January 29th, with puck drop scheduled for 7:00 PM CT. The game will air on NBC Sports Chicago.
For further postgame analysis as well as Blackhawks updates and commentary throughout the season, tune in to the Four Feathers Podcast.