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Balanced offence helps Predators beat Blackhawks for 7th win in last 8 games

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - After a rough night of winter travel, the Chicago Blackhawks had an equally tough time on the Nashville ice.

Sergei Kostitsyn, Kevin Klein and Patric Hornqvist each had a goal and an assist to help the Nashville Predators beat the Blackhawks 5-2 on Saturday night.

The Predators have won seven of their last eight and 10 of 12. Nashville also ended Chicago's winning streak at three. The Blackhawks had earned points in seven straight games.

Craig Smith and Colin Wilson also scored, and Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for Nashville. Rinne has won seven in a row and 10 of 11.

Marian Hossa scored twice for Chicago. He has five points in two games against Nashville this season.

Because of snow in Chicago and a thunderstorm in Nashville, the Blackhawks didn't arrive in town until 2:30 a.m.

"We really used that to our advantage," Rinne said. "They had a tough schedule because they played last night in Chicago and had a little bit of trouble getting in here."

Hossa opened the scoring at with 4:05 left in the first period.

Carrying the puck down the left side, Hossa slipped inside Nashville captain Shea Weber before cutting to the middle and sliding the puck under the Rinne's left pad.

Hossa's goal was one of just two Chicago shots on goal in the period.

Smith drew the Predators even with 2:41 left in the first.

With Nashville on a power play, Ryan Ellis fired a shot from the right point that goalie Corey Crawford stopped, but the rebound came to Smith on the right side where he flipped the puck over a sprawling Crawford.

It was the Nashville rookie's 10th goal of the season, six of which have come on the power play.

"We got a good power-play goal at the end of the first period," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "I thought that was really key for us."

Klein gave Nashville its first lead at 5:15 of the second when his seemingly harmless flip-in from the red line bounced in front of Crawford and then over his right shoulder.

"I just tried to throw it on net, throw a little wobbler," Klein said. "When you get a bounce like that, you are always thanking the hockey gods for sure."

The goal was a frustrating one for Crawford to allow.

"It took a funny bounce," Crawford said. "I probably could have come out and played it, but I was going for the rim and he faked it. There is nothing I can do about it now."

Wilson scored at 11:14 of the second and Kostitsyn followed with 3:57 to go to send Nashville into the second intermission with a 4-1 advantage.

"We had a good start," Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville said. "In the second period, obviously, you lose a little momentum off that kind of goal. We didn't have a lot of juice in our tank tonight as far as puck support. They beat us to a lot of loose pucks."

Kostitsyn's goal spelled the end of the night for Crawford, who allowed four goals on 17 shots. He was replaced by Ray Emery.

Hossa and Hornqvist traded goals early in the third.

Chicago captain Jonathan Toews left midway through the second period with an upper-body injury. Following the game, Quenneville said Toews was day-to-day.

NOTES: Nashville is 9-2-2 against fellow Central Division teams this season. ... Crawford appeared in his 100th career NHL game. ... Nashville D Ryan Suter missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. ... RW Brandon Yip made his debut for the Predators two days after Nashville claimed him on waivers from Colorado. ... Hossa has points in eight consecutive games, his second eight-game point streak this season.


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