The Predators welcomed Central Division rival (for the first time this season) the Chicago Blackhawks into Smashville tonight before a sold-out crowd, the 15th for the Predators. Although the crowd was about 55% Preds fans, 45% Blackhawks fans, the Predators didn’t seemed too phased by the large amount of red throughout the arena. With Chicago being 4th in the league (3rd in the division) and the Predators being 8th (4th in the division), a win over Chicago would be a huge boost for the Predators. And, in true Predators form, Nashville whipped the Blackhawks 5-2 in regulation. Here are the highlights from tonight’s game:
- A surprising scratch tonight was Matt Halischuk, who was given the night off for new kid Brandon Yip to hit the ice for the first time as a Predator. Brian McGrattan was also scratched for the night and, as expected, Ryan Suter is still out due to an upper-body injury.
- Marián Hossa gained the first goal of the night, putting Chicago up over the Predators at 15:05 with a nice backhand shot. However, the Predators fans didn’t have to wait long for the home team to respond…
- At 17:19, Craig Smith chipped a nice wrist shot passed Corey Crawford on the power play, his 10th goal of the season. He was assisted by both Ryan Ellis and Sergei Kostitsyn. There’s a good reason why Nashville is 2nd in the league on the power play.
- Kevin Klein wasted hardly any time during the second period, sending the Predators up 2-1 with a wrist shot. He was assisted by both David Legwand and Gabriel Bourque and this is his 3rd goal of the season.
- The Predators continued to dominate in the second period, with a wrist shot goal from Colin Wilson at 11:14, his 9th goal of the season. He was assisted by David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist.
- Sergei Kostitsyn, who was denied a goal earlier in the game, finished up the second period with a wrist shot at 16:03. This was SK74′s 12th goal of the season and has a 27.3% shooting percentage. Also, a side fun fact, Sergei is the only player this season to score two Frosty goals. He was assisted by Mike Fisher and Martin Erat.
- Marián Hossa scored his second goal of the game (20th for the season) at just 48 seconds into the 3rd period, making Preds fans wonder if the Blackhawks would try to redeem themselves in the third.
- However, Patric Hornqvist renewed faith with a nice slap shot at 3:08, his 13th goal of the season. It looked like at first Kevin Klein had sealed the goal, which would have made for his first multi-goal in a game. However, after it was rewarded to Klein, it was soon given to Hornqvist. Maybe next time, Klein!
- The Predators out-shot the Blackhawks by only one shot, 23 to 22 and Pekka Rinne was able to block all but two. After allowing four goals, Corey Crawford was pulled and replaced by Ray Emery (Yea, he played for Anaheim last season…). Emery blocked four of five shots during the third, but it just wasn’t enough to save the Blackhawks in Smashville.
- There weren’t many penalties during this game, with the Predators only giving the Blackhawks one power play chance. The Blackhawks, however, gave the Predators two chances, one of which the Predators capitalized on. Here is our one Predator who faced the penalty box:
- Jack Hillen – 14:08 3rd Period – Roughing
- Francis Bouillon was injured during the first period and left the ice for the remainder of the game. According to Head Coach Barry Trotz, Bouillon’s injury does not look serious, but there’s no way of truly telling. We are hoping this upper-body injury does not involve a concussion again. There is a good chance someone will be called up from Milwaukee due to Bouillon’s injury, and it could possibly be Jonathon Blum. Time will tell.
With this win over the Chicago Blackhawks, the Predators are now 9-2-2 against the Central Division and are now 28-16-4 on the season. The Predators have Sunday off, but welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets into Nashville on Monday night. The Predators will then take on Chicago once again on Tuesday night in Chicago.
Thanks for coming down, Chicago! We’ll see you Tuesday!