NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Cal O'Reilly scored the only goal in a shootout to give the Nashville Predators a 4-3 victory over the slumping Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.
Nashville won its second consecutive game, both of which required extra time. Prior to Thursday night's shootout victory in St. Louis, the Predators had lost five straight.
Chicago has dropped three in a row.
In the shootout, O'Reilly beat Chicago goalie Marty Turco with a wrist shot on Nashville's first attempt.
Jack Skille scored twice for Chicago and Viktor Stalberg had the other Blackhawks goal.
The Blackhawks made their first appearance in Nashville since closing out their Western Conference quarterfinal in six games last April.
Skille entered without a goal in 17 games this season, but ended that drought with less than a minute remaining in the opening period.
At 19:07 of the first, Brian Campbell stickhandled through traffic and found Skille in the slot, where he snapped a wrist shot by the glove of Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne just inside the right post.
O'Brien and Weber scored goals less than 3 minutes apart in the second to give Nashville a brief 2-1 lead. Stalberg tied it 92 seconds after Weber's power-play goal at 5:19.
Skille's second of the game came at 9:10 of the second. Jake Dowell had the puck on the right side and slipped a pass to Skille in the slot. He carried the puck just inside the left faceoff circle and beat Rinne with a wrist shot high to the glove side.
Franson's goal at 10:23 of the third tied it at 3.
Skille, the seventh overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, had never scored more than once in a game in his first 47 NHL contests.
Rinne has won both of his shootouts this season. Turco lost for the first time in three shootouts.
Notes: Nashville D Ryan Suter returned to the lineup after missing nine games with a lower-body injury. ... Predators RW Martin Erat played after missing four games with back spasms. ... Chicago LW Bryan Bickell has points in back-to-back games. ... Turco is 12-6-3 in his career against Nashville.
Head Coach Barry Trotz
On Pekka Rinne’s play in the shootout…
He said, “I want them to go first,” because he loves the pressure. He was outstanding. You know you’ll go to war with Pekka every night.
Killing the 5-on-3 in the third period…
It was a defining moment. We were playing on the edge, but we had a lot of emotion and guys were confident we were going to get it done. That’s really the joy of competition. When you’re challenged in that moment, it’s about how you’re going to respond. At that point, when we killed it off, I knew we were going to find a way to get two points tonight.
On playing from behind…
It’s very hard in this league when you’re down. We haven’t had the lead a whole lot. I think we’re better with the lead because we check fairly well. When you’re chasing the game, trying to get it tied up, it’s pretty taxing on your team mentally, but you talk about defining a backbone and finding ways to win – that’s what those moments are.
On battling back after a recent five-game losing streak…
I think our team has a lot of backbone. We’ve had to go through some of the trials and tribulations of a five-game losing streak to find some of that backbone, find our game, find what we are again. Coming out of the gates, things went our way and were a little easier for us, and then we got humbled on that five-game losing streak. Now we realize that every night is a battle, and it’s fun. You can go into our locker room right now and everybody’s feeling good about the win, but they’re also feeling good about how hard it is to win every night, and it’s a great feeling. You accomplish something with the group. If it was easy, I don’t think it would be as fulfilling.
On Suter’s impact in returning from injury…
He’s really poised on [the power play] and he can go across the blue line as well as anybody in the National Hockey League. He really changed the angle – that was some of the difficulty with our power play – we weren’t able to change a lot of the angle – and then you have to execute from there, and those two things were giving us a little bit of a problem. The power play has different elements and Suter, he’s a transporter – he can go across the blue line really well in entry and retrieval.
Suter played really well coming back from injury. He really gave us a boost on the backend and he could have won it in overtime – he put one off the crossbar.
Forward Patric Hornqvist
On playing against a tough Chicago team…
It was a good game by everyone. I liked the fact that everybody stood up for each other tonight. It was just a great team effort. Everyone worked their hardest every shift and we got two points. If we keep doing that it will be hard to beat us.
On whether or not he was disappointed after his goal was disallowed…
Of course it was disappointing, but that’s part of the game. Like I said, we just have to keep battling and we did and we got the goal to beat them in the shootout. It was just a great team effort for everyone.
Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On having an energetic sell-out crowd for tonight’s game…
They were great as always. We can’t take them for granted but being at home, we could feel the energy and we are really happy that we got the win because we haven’t played well at home. It feels good to get the two points.
On what his strategy is like for excelling in the shootout…
We prepare well for the shootouts. We realize that the one extra point is huge and it’s never easy to get those points and when you get to the shootout, you want to give your team the best chance. Cal made an awesome shot. My job gets a lot easier after that.
Defenseman Ryan Suter
On responding to Chicago’s quick goals…
We wanted to get the two points tonight and in the third we knew we had to get it and played a good third period.
On Hornqvist’s goal being disallowed…
We knew right away that it wasn’t going to count. He did say that he thought he kicked it. We had a chance there and it didn’t count but I thought that we did a good job putting the pressure back on them.
On how his knee felt throughout his first game back…
It felt good. When I got hit there in the first it hurt a lot. I was by the boards just standing there and he just ran into me. I don’t know why. When I came into the locker room during the first, I was just making sure it wasn’t the same injury as before – and it wasn’t.