Chicago
Blackhawks
31-42-9
Nashville
Predators
51-23-8

33 SOG
40 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
CHI
NSH
game recap

Chicago Blackhawks 8, Nashville Predators 6 FINAL

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:48 AM

Associated Press

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Chicago Blackhawks 8, Nashville Predators 6 FINAL
Chicago Blackhawks 8, Nashville Predators 6
NASHVILLE (AP) -- Martin Havlat needed one game to show Chicago what he brings to his new team. The Blackhawks showed him they won't be giving up easily this season.

Chicago's biggest offseason acquisition, Havlat had two goals and two assists to lead the Blackhawks to an 8-6 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night in the teams' season opener. The victory ended a six-game winless skid in Nashville, Chicago's first here since Nov. 7, 2003.

The Blackhawks rallied from 2-0 and 4-3 deficits.

"I really like the guys battled back, especially early in the game," Chicago coach Trent Yawney said. "There was no quit in them, and they deserve a lot of credit."

Havlat got them started. The forward, picked up in a three-team trade from Ottawa in July, scored on a breakaway less than 30 seconds after Nashville went up 2-0 in the first five minutes of the game.

"A 1-0 win would've been the same feeling," Havlat said.

Havlat's empty-net goal with 54.8 seconds left came after David Legwand and Steve Sullivan had scored in a 4-minute span, the last at 18:23, to pull Nashville within 7-6. The Predators squandered a 4-3 lead when Chicago scored four straight goals starting at the end of the second period.

Rene Bourque scored shorthanded 4 minutes into the third, then added an assist on Bryan Smolinski's goal at 9:40. Smolinski assisted on Radim Vrbata's goal late in the third.

Martin LaPointe and Michal Handzus each added a goal and an assist for Chicago.

Legwand finished with two goals and an assist for Nashville, and Ryan Suter had two assists.

Chicago, one of the NHL's original six franchises, came into this season trailing the series with the one-time expansion Predators 19-18-4 and had not won in six straight games in Nashville.

But Patrick Sharp tipped a sloppy pass from Sullivan to Bourque, skated up the left side and shot the puck through the legs of Tomas Vokoun for a 5-4 lead Chicago wouldn't lose.

Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin stopped Scott Hartnell from in front of the crease twice in the next few minutes and helped a team that finished with the third-fewest points in the NHL last season start off with the victory by stopping 40 shots.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said his Predators had 33 scoring chances, but only managed two goals on 15 shots in the third period.

Yawney said Khabibulin's saves came when needed most.

"Even though he gives up six, he deserves to get the win with the number of good saves he made," Yawney said.

Havlat got Chicago on the board after falling behind 2-0, scoring on breakaway in the first. He skated up and fed the puck to LaPointe at the mouth of the crease for an easy power-play goal at 14:24 of the second that tied it at 4.

Nashville paid for putting most of its money toward offense by signing Jason Arnott and J.P. Dumont with five young defensemen. Captain Kimmo Timonen came in with 493 games' NHL experience compared to 418 for his five fellow defensemen.

"I think that was a good wake-up call for us," Timonen said. "We got a lot of offense, but we can't win games like that."

With little help, Vokoun looked very rusty in his first game that counts since April 1. He missed the final eight games last season because of blood clots that kept him out of the playoffs.

"We knew they were a dangerous team," Vokoun said. "I don't think the team were listening good. We were listening to it, but we didn't believe it, and they showed us."

Notes: The eight goals allowed ties the most Nashville has ever given up. ... Chicago went 13-1-4 last season when scoring four or more goals. ... This is the 22nd time Nashville has scored six or more goals but the first time to do so and lose. ... Arnott's penalty in the second period put him at 1,001 penalty minutes in his career. ... Original Predators captain Tom Fitzgerald, who recently retired from the NHL after 17 years, dropped the ceremonial puck.
scoring summary
1st Period
00:39
NSH
J-P Dumont (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Steve Sullivan (1)
1 - 0 NSH
04:43
NSH
PPG - Kimmo Timonen (1) Slapshot - ASST: Shea Weber (1), David Legwand (1)
2 - 0 NSH
05:15
CHI
Marty Havlat (1) Backhand shot - ASST: Duncan Keith (1)
2 - 1 NSH
08:41
CHI
Patrick Sharp (1) Slapshot - ASST: Rene Bourque (1), Martin Lapointe (1)
2 - 2 Tie
10:24
CHI
Michal Handzus (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Michael Holmqvist (1), Marty Havlat (1)
3 - 2 CHI
2nd Period
01:48
NSH
David Legwand (1) Slapshot - ASST: Scott Hartnell (1), Ryan Suter (1)
3 - 3 Tie
10:56
NSH
Josef Vasicek (1) Snap shot - ASST: Martin Erat (1), Ryan Suter (2)
4 - 3 NSH
14:24
CHI
PPG - Martin Lapointe (1) Slapshot - ASST: Marty Havlat (2), Michal Handzus (1)
4 - 4 Tie
3rd Period
04:00
CHI
SHG - Rene Bourque (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Patrick Sharp (1)
5 - 4 CHI
09:40
CHI
PPG - Bryan Smolinski (1) Snap shot - ASST: Rene Bourque (2), Adrian Aucoin (1)
6 - 4 CHI
13:08
CHI
Radim Vrbata (1) Wrist shot - ASST: Bryan Smolinski (1), Denis Arkhipov (1)
7 - 4 CHI
14:27
NSH
David Legwand (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Paul Kariya (1), Martin Erat (2)
7 - 5 CHI
18:23
NSH
Steve Sullivan (1) Slapshot - ASST: Marek Zidlicky (1), Kimmo Timonen (1)
7 - 6 CHI
19:05
CHI
EN - Marty Havlat (2) Wrist shot - ASST: Duncan Keith (2)
8 - 6 CHI
penalty summary
1st Period
02:50
CHI
Reed Low  Slashing
10:48
CHI
Brent Seabrook  Holding against  Scott Nichol
17:55
CHI
Martin Lapointe  Fighting (maj) against  Scott Nichol
17:55
CHI
Tony Salmelainen  Interference on goalkeeper against  Tomas Vokoun
17:55
NSH
Scott Nichol  Fighting (maj) against  Martin Lapointe
2nd Period
07:54
CHI
Michael Holmqvist  Hooking against  Scott Hartnell
11:58
NSH
Jordin Tootoo  Fighting (maj) against  Reed Low
11:58
CHI
Reed Low  Fighting (maj) against  Jordin Tootoo
13:55
NSH
Jason Arnott  Interference
17:45
CHI
Rene Bourque  Hi-sticking
3rd Period
02:56
CHI
Jassen Cullimore  Interference against  Jordin Tootoo
05:15
CHI
Jassen Cullimore  Tripping against  Scott Hartnell
07:54
NSH
Darcy Hordichuk  Hooking against  Patrick Sharp
16:13
CHI
Patrick Sharp  Hooking against  Steve Sullivan
19:46
CHI
Duncan Keith  Hooking against  David Legwand
goalie stats
Nikolai Khabibulin
Nikolai Khabibulin
SA: 40TOI: 60:00
Saves: 34EV: 19 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 15 - 16
SV%: .850SH: 0 - 0
Tomas Vokoun
SA: 32TOI: 58:29
Saves: 25EV: 22 - 26
PIM: 0PP: 2 - 4
SV%: .781SH: 1 - 2

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