NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nashville rookie defenceman Ryan Ellis rebounded in a big way for the Predators.
After being listed as a healthy scratch against Boston on Saturday, Ellis bounced back with the go-ahead goal and the Nashville Predators handed the Chicago Blackhawks their ninth consecutive loss, 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Ellis also added an assist for his third multi-point game of the season.
“It was a great response from Ellis,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “He is a really smart player. But the last couple of games he had gotten a little too cute and it hadn’t worked out for him.
“We told him to keep it pretty simple and pretty smart. We told him we wanted him to make the right plays and make good decisions on defence. And obviously he contributed offensively.”
The Predators stopped a three-game skid.
“We played with more emotion,” Trotz said. “I thought we played with more detail. We had been stumbling around a little bit.
“To be a divisional game putting some distance between us and them is huge. It sort of gets us on track a little bit.”
Ellis’ goal was a one-timer from high above the right circle at 14:18 of the third period that deflected off Chicago’s Duncan Keith.
“It was a series of fortunate bounces,” Ellis said. “David Legwand made a great play across the ice. I think everyone’s momentum was going the other way and it squeaked in.”
The Predators had 19 shots on goal. Ellis earned points on both of his shots.
“I think taking off the game in Boston was a good thing,” Ellis said. “I was a little cold these last few games and it allowed me to get refocused. I know that I have to play hard every night.”
Marian Hossa tied it at 2-2 with a wrist shot from above the right circle at 6:05 of the third that bounced off Nashville’s Roman Josi. It was his 21st goal of the season.
“Right now it’s hard to talk, obviously after another loss,” Hossa said. “Maybe it’s going to sound like an old song, but we battled tonight. We did lots of good things.”
Ryan Suter opened the scoring against Chicago goaltender Ray Emery with a shot from high in the slot near the left circle that went into the right side of the net at 18:20 of the first period.
Emery had 16 saves.
“When things aren’t going well you want to simplify and get things to the net and that’s what we did,” Suter said. “It paid off for us.”
“They held onto the puck quite a bit, but we got some fortunate bounces. If you work hard, good things happen.”
Bryan Bickell tied the game 46 seconds later. His wrist shot from high in the slot beat Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne to his stick side.
Rinne finished with 30 saves. He sensed the Blackhawks getting stronger as the game went on.
“It is hard to believe Chicago has lost that many games in a row,” Rinne said. “They didn’t panic. They played a strong game and as the game went along I thought they got stronger.”
Nick Spaling put the Predators back in front 2-1 at 17:21 of the second period. Ellis sent a shot from the point that deflected high off Spaling’s stick and into the net.
It was the type of play that adds to the frustrations of the Blackhawks.
“When you look at this stretch we have had here. We have found different ways to not come out on top,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “Tonight, it looked like we were doing the things we wanted to do and that we were moving in the right direction.”
Notes: Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist sat out the game with an upper body injury and is listed day to day. … Suter has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in his past nine games. … This was the seventh of nine consecutive road games for the Blackhawks.