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Kariya's two third-period goals rally Predators to 2-1 win over Blackhawks

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Kariya scored twice in the third period, and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight win. Kariya's power-play goal with 7:02 left snapped a 1-1 tie. He fired a screened shot from the top of the right circle past goalie Nikolai Khabibulin. "It's been a tough year goal-scoring wise for me, but tonight I got a couple of breaks," Kariya said. "We were doing a better job in the third period of getting shots through, through traffic or screens or whatever."

Kariya tied it at 1 just 6:41 into the period ruining Khabibulin's bid for his first regular-season shutout since March 1, 2004, when he was with Tampa Bay.

Kariya has only nine goals this season, but he leads the Predators with 34 points. He had six of Nashville's 19 shots on Khabibulin - including four in the final period.

"He's been one of our best forwards the last little while here," coach Barry Trotz said. "In Paul Kariya fashion, he got a couple of big goals tonight. He made it happen."

The late rally enabled Nashville to beat Chicago for the first time in four meetings this season.

"They've got a good hockey club out there and they've had our number all year," Kariya said. "It wasn't a great game for us, but we'll take the two points."

Chris Mason made 28 saves while starting his 13th straight start for Nashville. He is 9-3-1 since top goalie Tomas Vokoun underwent hand surgery on Nov. 27.

"We knew it was going to be a tough game," Mason said. "It seems like they're one of the hottest teams in the league right now. We were lucky enough to be able to wait it out."

Martin Havlat scored for the Blackhawks, 7-2-3 since Denis Savard replaced fired coach Trent Yawney on Nov. 27.

Havlat has five goals and five assists in seven games since returning from a sprained right ankle.

"We played pretty well, but in the third period we gave the game away," said Khabibulin, who finished with 17 saves. "You can't do that in your own building."

Havlat opened the scoring with 5:36 left in the first period.

After Ryan Suter's clearing pass bounded off Blackhawks forward Peter Bondra, Havlat caught it at center ice with his glove. He dropped the puck to his stick, moved in 1-on-1 against defenceman Greg Zanon and beat Mason with a shot high on the stick side.

"We had chances to get it to 2-0," Savard said. "Obviously, we need to shoot a little more.

"Their goalie made some good saves. Overall, our performance was good. We just didn't finish."

Kariya tied it after taking a a long lead pass from David Legwand. Kariya gained a step on defenceman Duncan Keith and ripped a low shot past Khabibulin's glove side.

Notes: The Blackhawks dressed seven defencemen. ... Bondra, signed by Blackhawks on Dec. 10, needs one goal for 500 in the NHL. He scored No. 499 in his first game with Chicago on Dec. 12 at St. Louis, but is scoreless in four games since. ... Nashville LW Darcy Hordichuk was a healthy scratch.



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