Nashville Predators 1, Chicago Blackhawks 3
The Chicago Blackhawks used two power-play goals to defeat the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
Chicago’s Duncan Keith started things off just 1:29 into the opening frame as he took a feed from Marian Hossa, and blasted a slapshot past Carter Hutton for the early lead.
Nashville responded less than two minutes later on the man advantage when Shea Weber tallied his team-leading eighth goal of the year. With Marcus Kruger in the box for a face-off violation, the Preds worked the power play until Roman Josi found Weber alone in the slot for the one-timer. It was Nashville’s fourth power-play goal in their last three games.
Man-advantage markers would be the name-of-the-game for the remaining 57 minutes of the game, as Chicago scored twice on the power play.
With four minutes remaining in the opening period, Patrick Kane danced in tight to Hutton and lifted a backhander over the goalie’s left shoulder for the eventual game-winning goal. Patrick Sharp picked up the primary assist, while Keith added an assist for his second point of the period.
The Blackhawks completed the 3-1 win with another power-play goal at 11:33 of the second period. A pinching Nick Leddy was the recipient of a rebound off Brandon Saad’s stick, as the defenseman buried his fourth goal of the season, ensuring the Blackhawk victory.
Two Big Things and Notes:
Power-play Prowess: The Nashville Predators picked up their fourth power-play goal in their last three games with Shea Weber’s first period goal. The goal was Weber’s franchise-leading 55th career power-play marker.
After going one-for-seven on Tuesday night, the Nashville power play remains among the League’s best (ninth, 19.7 percent). Tuesday night’s loss was Nashville’s first in regulation when scoring a power-play goal (13-1-1).
Streaky Preds: Even with the loss to Chicago, several Preds players kept point streaks alive on Tuesday night:
Roman Josi is riding a five-game point streak (2g-4a-6pts), tying his career high (March 15-23, 2013). It is also the longest by a Predators this season.
Weber took over the team’s goal-scoring lead with his first period goal. He is now tied for third among League blueliners with eight goals on the season, while he leads all League defensemen with six power-play goals. Weber is also the only blueliner to lead his team in goal-scoring. Nashville’s captain has posted five points (1g-5a) in five games since returning to the lineup last Saturday in Washington. Tuesday night marked the first time that the Preds have lost when Weber scores (7-1-0).
SPECIAL TEAMS: Tonight’s 12 special teams opportunities matched the season high for a Predators game. Nashville scored once in seven power-play opportunities, while Chicago scored twice on five man-advantage tries. The Predators came into the game averaging 10.7 PIM per game (11th in the NHL), while Chicago had averaged 9.1 PIM per game (5th).
SHOTS: Nashville’s 17 first-period shots were a season high for the team in the opening 20 minutes, and tied for the second-highest in any period this season by the Predators (19; third period, October 31 at Phoenix).
BATTLES: Nashville won the face-off battle by a margin of 34-19 (64 percent) – with three centermen above 50 percent and outhit the Blackhawks 19 to 5. Nashville ranks second in the League in face-off efficiency (54.3 percent), and has been better than 50 percent in the face-off circle in 28 of its 34 games this season.
Paul Gaustad led the team in the face-off circle after going nine-for-11 on the dot (82 percent). He ranks among the League’s top face-off men this season (60.2 percent). David Legwand (72 percent) and Matt Cullen (67 percent) were also better than 60 percent in the circle.
Mike Fisher established a new personal best for 2013-14 with seven shots on goal. He also had four attempts blocked and one miss.