Surging Predators Beat Blackhawks 3-2
CHICAGO (AP) – Roman Josi had three assists, Ryan Ellis scored in the third period, and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on Friday night for their third consecutive win.
Mike Fisher and Patric Hornqvist also scored for Nashville, which has won two of three against Chicago this season. Shea Weber had two assists, and Pekka Rinne made 31 saves.
It was the second straight loss for the Blackhawks, who are struggling to keep up with the top contenders in the rugged Western Conference. The reigning Stanley Cup champions dropped to 10-8-7 in 2014.
Jonathan Toews and Peter Regin scored for Chicago, and Corey Crawford made 26 saves in his 200th NHL game.
Ellis’ fourth goal of the season came right after the Predators killed a holding penalty on the defenseman that carried over into the third. He jumped out of the box, got a long pass from Josi and beat Crawford on a breakaway to make it 3-1 just 45 seconds into the period.
Regin’s tip-in got the Blackhawks within one again at 11:28, but they were unable to tie it. Regin’s second goal with Chicago came after Toews sent a wide-open opportunity off the left post 4:40 into the third. Toews also had an open tip go wide with 36 seconds left.
Chicago controlled the action at the start, but Nashville began to pressure Crawford midway through the first.
Nick Spaling shot wide right on a prime opportunity with about 7 1/2 minutes left. Fisher put the Predators in front when he pushed a rebound over Crawford’s left leg at 15:43. Weber’s big slap shot helped set up Fisher’s 17th goal.
Nashville used another big slap shot by Weber to open a 2-0 lead with 69 seconds left in the first. Crawford stopped the drive by the big defenseman, but Hornqvist swept in the rebound for his 13th.
Crawford hopped up and slammed his stick down as the Predators celebrated Hornqvist’s first goal since March 4.
The two-goal deficit seemed to wake up the Blackhawks for a bit. Toews stole the puck from Josi and passed it to Kris Versteeg, who passed it back to the captain for his 26th goal with 14 seconds remaining.
Chicago carried the momentum into the second, but Rinne was there each time. He used his left pad to deny Patrick Sharp on a 1-on-1 opportunity, and he got some help from teammates when the Blackhawks had the puck in front during a power play at the end of the period.
Crawford also used his glove to grab Craig Smith’s shot with 5:46 left in the second.
NOTES: Blackhawks F Marian Hossa (upper body) participated in the morning skate and is hoping to return Sunday at home against Detroit or Tuesday at Philadelphia. He has missed five games. … Predators F Viktor Stalberg received a warm ovation when he was shown on the video board in the first period for helping Chicago win the Stanley Cup last season. … In addition to Hossa, the Blackhawks also scratched defensemen David Runblad and Michal Rozsival. … D Victor Bartley and RW Patrick Eaves were scratched by the Predators.
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