NASHVILLE – Cristobal Huet and Chicago coach Joel Quenneville made it clear that the Blackhawks don’t have a goalie controversy.
Huet made 12 saves in Chicago’s 3-1 victory over Nashville on Thursday, a night after Antti Niemi started in the Blackhawks’ 4-3 home win over Edmonton.
“He got a good win,” Quenneville said. “He handled the puck well. I think it helped him and it helped us. There is no problem with Huet. I do not anticipate changing goaltenders.”
Huet said it was difficult to stay sharp with so few shots.
“There were a lot of tricky plays around the net,” Huet said. “For the most part I felt good. I think the guys played a very complete game.
“It was important to get the win. I try not to be too down or to be too high. Games like this are challenging mentally, but they are good too. That means the team is playing hard in front of you.”
Dustin Byfuglien and Tomas Kopecky scored in a 28-second span early in the second period, Duncan Keith also scored, and Brent Seabrook added two assists.
Byfuglien scored on the power play at 2:21 of the second period. Seabrook blasted a shot off of the right post, and Byfuglien – stationed in front of the net – beat Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne off the rebound.
Kopecky then beat Rinne at 2:49.
Martin Erat answered for the Predators at 3:36 of the second period, with the puck bouncing off defender Niklas Hjalmarsson and past Cristobal Huet.
“Our bench could have wilted and said, ‘Here we go again,”‘ Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “We skated and didn’t stand around. We went after a very good team. We stayed with a pretty good structure.”
Keith scored at 7:07 of the third period, firing a one-timer from the top edge of the left circle that beat Rinne high to the left side.
“I think it has been a good team effort the last little while,” Keith said. “Everyone is contributing. Huet played great. The defence played well. I think the forwards have been working well together.”
Notes: Nashville’s Steve Sullivan, a former Chicago player, was honoured during pre-game ceremonies with the presentation of the Bill Masterton Trophy. … J.P. Dumont was back on the ice for Nashville for the first time since the season opener at Dallas. … Cal O’Reilly played his first game for the Predators after being recalled from Milwaukee on Thursday. … It was the Blackhawks’ only road game in an eight-game span.