Predators overthrow Blackhawks 3-1, Preds now Third in Central Division

Mike Fisher continues his dominance against the Central Division.

The Predators may have just destroyed the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, but that didn’t seem to effect them much when game time rolled around tonight in Chicago as the Predators smashed the Blackhawks 3-1 in regulation. With this win, the Predators are  now third in the Central Division, knocking Chicago down to fourth. Here are the highlights from tonight’s extraordinary win in the Windy City:

KEY POINTS:

  • Brian McGrattan was scratched yet again tonight, along with Francis Bouillon, who did make the trip to Chicago. His travel to Chicago with the team gave hope as to if he would play tonight, but it was nothing but false. A surprise scratch was Jerred Smithson, who is still feeling the effects of his recent upper-body injury. Hopefully, it’s just a precautionary scratch.
  • Craig Smith took Chicago by storm at 11:49 in the first, sending the wrist-shot passed goalie Corey Crawford. Smith’s 11th goal of the season was assisted by Matt Halischuk.
  • Mike Fisher wasted no time after Craig’s goal to seal his own against the Blackhawks at 17:34 with a wrist-shot. Patric Hornqvist was Fisher’s only assistant on his 12th goal of the season.
  • The second period was relatively quiet compared to the first, with neither team scoring, despite five power play opportunities between both teams. However, new kid Brandon Yip has proven himself physically as he took on Steve Montador during this period. At first, it looks as if the two are just hugging, but Yip throws some damaging punches, clearly the victor in this fight. Here’s the video:
  • Chicago would finally get the ball rolling at 7:20 of the 3rd period, Dave Bolland with a slap shot that narrowly slipped passed Pekka Rinne on the power play.
  • Colin Wilson would capitalize on the empty net at 19:47, his 10th goal of the season. He was assisted by David Legwand and Ryan Suter.
  • Not many shots were taken throughout this game, with only 26 from the Predators and 25 from the Blackhawks. Despite this, Pekka Rinne had his share of action tonight, with most of the play in the Predators zone. Pekka was remarkable as ever, enough for him to take the lead in this NHL 2012 Vezina Trophy poll:

Yes, it's in Finnish, but that doesn't mean anything!

  •  The Predators started showing some fatigue after the first period, a sure sign that they played the night before. However, although Chicago did put pressure on the Predators, it just wasn’t enough to sidetrack them from wanting the third position in the Central Division. The Predators gave up several penalty kills to Chicago, 5 to be exact, and the Blackhawks were able to use one to their advantage. Luckily for the Predators, Pekka and the defense avoided more than just one power play goal. Here are the four penalty offenders:
  1. Mike Fisher – 1:17 2nd Period – Tripping
  2. Brandon Yip – 13:12 2nd Period – Fighting
  3. Mike Fisher – 6:53 3rd Period – Delaying Game – Puck over Glass
  4. Martin Erat – 8:41 3rd Period – Hi-Sticking
  5. Shea Weber – 15:17 3rd Period – Too many men/ice
The Predators will take on the Minnesota Wild next Tuesday in Minnesota, but before then, Shea, Craig, and Ryan will participate in the All-Star Game this weekend, with events starting this Thursday night.
Until then,
GO PREDS.

(Photo Credit: Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

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