(WSCR) – The Predators held off the Blackhawks until the end of the first period, when Tomas Kopecky scored. The Blackhawks scored once more early in the second period and the Preds were scoreless. Nashville tied it up in the third and took the victory in a shootout.
Marcel Goc scored the only goal in the shootout, and the Nashville Predators rallied from a two-goal deficit after two periods to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 Saturday night.
Goc took the first shot in the shootout for Nashville, and goaltender Pekka Rinne made it stand up by stopping Jonathan Toews and gloving Patrick Kane’s shot. Patrick Sharp had a last chance, but his shot went wide of the net.
Nashville captain and All-Star Shea Weber and Jerred Smithson each scored less than four minutes apart in the third period. Joel Ward had two assists.
Tomas Kopecky scored a power-play goal, and Viktor Stalberg had a goal for Chicago.
The Predators have won three of the first four games in this Central Division rivalry against the team that ousted them from the playoffs in the opening round last April. The teams meet again Sunday night in Chicago.
The game had a playoff atmosphere with fans chanting back and forth during intermissions, and the Blackhawks appeared to be cruising to a fourth straight win.
Rookie goaltender Corey Crawford extended his shutout streak to 126 minutes, 23 seconds by keeping the Predators off the scoreboard through the first two periods. The Blackhawks outshot Nashville 23-12 through to that point and 33-26 for the game.
But Nashville came alive in the third period to win for the seventh time in eight games and remain just ahead of the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Central Division.
Nick Spaling found Smithson in front of the net with a nice backhanded pass that Smithson snapped past Crawford at 9:46. Despite a heavy dose of Chicago red in the stands, the fans gave the Predators a standing ovation through a timeout, and the Predators paid them back for the support by scoring off the ensuing faceoff.
Ward passed the puck over to Ryan Suter, who found Weber alone near the blue line, and he fired a slap shot into to the net at 12:20 to tie the game.
In the overtime, Rinne helped the Predators get to the shootout as he stopped Marian Hossa twice, and his best save of the night came with 1:26 left in the extra period. Hossa corralled the puck after Suter lost it and fed Patrick Sharp on a breakaway only to be stopped by a sprawling Rinne at the post.
Rinne finished with 31 saves.
Chicago went up 1-0 after Joel Ward missed a shot wide on a breakaway chance for a shorthanded goal. Kopecky flipped a wrister over Rinne for the 1-0 lead at 14:59 and his eighth goal this season. Stalberg padded Chicago’s lead at 4:29 of the second with a wrister for his seventh this season.
Notes: Weber extended his career high points streak to eight straight games. … Blackhawks D Niklas Hjalmarsson started after missing practice the last couple days. … Spaling now has a point in three straight games. … Nashville came in tied for second in the NHL on the penalty kill after stopping 25 of 26 coming into this game. … The Predators came in ranked first in killing penalties on home ice, having allowed only four power-play goals on 56 opportunities before giving Kopecky’s goal.
Copyright 2011 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.