NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Some of the Nashville Predators chose to stay silent. Others chatted about similar situations they faced in their hockey lives.
Whatever approach a player took during the downtime before the third period Tuesday night, there was a sense in the locker room that something dramatic was about to happen. J.P. Dumont, who was part of the drama, could sense a different atmosphere just before he and three other Predators scored goals in the final 20 minutes to rally from a 3-1 deficit to a 5-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks.
“Everyone knew a storm was coming,” said Dumont. “I think everybody knew we were going to come back. It was a great feeling.”
David Legwand opened the scoring for the Predators a little more than two minutes into the third period. Dumont added a power-play goal less than three minutes later to tie the game. Joel Ward, who earlier failed to finish on a wide-open shot, tipped in the winner with 5:03 to play. Shea Weber added an insurance goal on the power play at 17:10.
“After we made it 3-2 everybody on the bench knew the game was ours,” said Dumont. “We knew what we had to do.”
Arnott had scored in the second period. He also added an assist on Dumont’s goal. Dumont assisted on Arnott’s goal for a multipoint game. Martin Erat had three assists, all in the third period.
“We stuck with our game plan and kept working at it,” Arnott said. “Everyone contributed, even the guys who didn’t score. We just went out and played together and worked hard to get out of it.”
The Predators had only six goals in their previous five games. Legwand thinks scoring four in a period might be the boost the offence has needed.
“Five goals in a game is kind of unusual for us,” Legwand admitted. “It is a change of pace. It would be nice to score five goals every game, but that is very unlikely that is going to happen.
“Getting a goal early in the third was a key. Getting the two power play goals in the third was huge.”
Dustin Byfuglien, Martin Havlat and Patrick Kane scored for the Blackhawks. Both Havlat and Kane got their 20th goals of the season.
“I don’t think we played well in the first or third period,” said Chicago coach Joel Quenneville. “It has been a long road trip. I don’t like to make excuses, but we were definitely not good enough. We’ve got to bring some emotion and tonight was not our best.”
The Predators cut the Blackhawks’ lead to one goal when Legwand skated in from the right side and beat Cristobal Huet with a backhander to his glove side from the edge of the crease.
Dumont tied the game with a slap shot from above the right circle that beat Huet to his glove side.
Ward got the winner when he tipped in a shot to the glove side of Huet as he battled in a crowd in front of the crease.
After neither team could find the net in the first period, the Blackhawks opened up the game in the second period with three goals.
Brian Campbell fired a slapshot from a few feet inside the blue-line that was redirected by Byfuglien to beat goaltender Pekka Rinne. Havlat scored from low in the slot, beating Rinne low to his glove side.
Kane’s wrist shot from along the goal-line went behind Rinne by bouncing off his leg pad.
Arnott had the Predators’ only goal in the period, in between Havlat and Kane scoring. Steve Sullivan’s backhander from close range was blocked by Huet. Arnott skated in behind Sullivan, picked up the rebound, and shot a backhander over Huet’s left shoulder.
Notes: Rinne had averaged 1.97 goals per game in his previous four games against the Blackhawks. … Arnott has points (six goals, five assists) in nine of his last 12 games.