Game Recap

Blackhawks 4, Predators 1

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 3:48 AM

Associated Press

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Blackhawks 4, Predators 1
Chicago Blackhawks 4, Nashville Predators 1

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - It's hard to beat perfection.

The Nashville Predators found that out Saturday night when the Chicago Blackhawks played what coach Joel Quenneville called the "perfect road game" in a 4-1 victory.

"It was an important game for us and we responded," Quenneville said. "We did a lot of things right. I thought we got to the net well. I thought we moved the puck well. Every line was contributing. We were good in all areas."

Cristobal Huet made 25 saves for the Blackhawks, earning his third win in five starts against the Predators this season.

The win gave the Western Conference-leading Blackhawks a six point lead over the second-place Predators in the Central Division. The two teams will complete the six-game regular-season series Sunday night in Chicago.

"When you play back-to-back games winning the first one is always nice," Huet said. "I think we can expect a little more from Nashville when we play them again."

The Blackhawks, with 40 shots, got balanced scoring from Dustin Byfuglien, Patrick Kane, Andrew Ladd and Patrick Sharp with a goal apiece.

Jonathan Towes and Tomas Kopecky each had two assists.

"It's fun to see guys get scoring chances," Towes said. "What makes our team dangerous is you can't just key on two or three guys, especially forwards.

"All four lines were producing. This was one of those games where we needed an effort from everybody. We are going to have to give an even better effort Sunday night."

Quenneville doesn't see the early end to the series as either an advantage or disadvantage.

"It is unusual that we are going to play our last game with them," Quenneville said. "This one is also important for everyone involved and we have to respond in kind. Who knows if it is a good thing to be done with them this early?"

While the Blackhawks were getting contributions from all areas, the Predators struggled to get into the game.

"There has to be more urgency and more fire in the belly," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "It was not just another game against Chicago. It's not one of 82. You are battling for something. If we're not battling then our expectations for ourselves are too low."

The Predators were hit with back-to-back minor penalties in the first period. After killing off the first penalty, the Predators were unable to stop the Blackhawks on the second. Byfuglien scored with a wrist shot through traffic from just inside the blue line at the 9:44 mark against Pekka Rinne.

Martin Erat tied it at 7:38 of the second, beating Huet on a breakaway.

The Blackhawks scored two goals in a 1:10 span of the second period to take a 3-1 lead. Kane scored first and Ladd scored on a backhander at 13:36.

With 1:13 left in the second, Sharp gave the Blackhawks a 4-1 edge off a rebound.

"Those goals are the kind of plays we want to continue to have throughout the year," Sharp said. "It starts with battles down low and a lot of shots from the slot and the point. We have to have guys going to the net and scoring in the dirty areas."

NOTES: Byfuglien has three goals in five games against Nashville. ... Erat has three goals and one assist in four games against Chicago this season.

Head Coach Barry Trotz
On the game overall…
We tried to keep the puck in but they had an odd-man rush that they capitalized on. You just have to be sure that you stay firm against Kane, Toews, Sharp and some of their top guys. Sometimes you have to pull back and live to fight another day. You have to have support. I thought we came out fine but we didn’t want to shoot the puck for some reason and we ended up on the downside of a lopsided shot chart. We fought back to get it to where I thought we were playing pretty even with them. Marty’s (Erat) goal obviously gave us a little bit of a boost and roughly five minutes later we pinched on the wall and it jumped over the stick of our defenseman. We didn’t have really good support there and Kane is great on the 2-on-1. We tried to take away the back door and he made a great shot. We just have to respond a little bit better and get people back.

On the third goal I thought we did an absolutely horrible job on the back check – we didn’t pick up anybody and we didn’t have enough urgency. They had a couple whacks at it and bang it’s in the net. Against a team like Chicago, they don’t give up a lot of shots – they are the best in the league at it and they have the best goals against. They are really sound defensively. You can’t give them free cracks at your net. You’ve got to capitalize when you get chances on them. Early on, I didn’t think we shot the puck enough and obviously it showed there. We started shooting in the second period and we had some chances and ended up tying it up. At that point, I thought we were going in the right direction but they got those back-to-back goals really quick and that to me was game, set and match early. It took the steam and the air out of our balloon.

On if he thought the game would be tighter given the standings…
Absolutely. That was the number on e thing I said, that it had to be a bigger deal. More urgency. More fire in the belly. It’s just not another game against Chicago, it’s not one of 82 – you are battling for something. If we’re not battling, then our expectations of ourselves are too low. We just need to respond tomorrow. I didn’t like our effort in Vancouver and I didn’t like our effort here. At times we were good but others… we’re talking a full-court 60 minute type effort. Moving our feet. Paying the price. Having a lot more meaning. They are a good hockey team. – I take nothing away from them. But we can be harder. We can be better. And if we don’t believe we can, then our expectations of ourselves as a group are way too low. We can do a lot of good things and we have done good things but we’ve done them because we had to do certain things – people made sacrifices. Tonight we didn’t sacrifice enough.

On playing Chicago again tomorrow being a positive or a negative…
We are going to correct what we didn’t do today and we are going to go into Chicago with what I hope will be our best effort. I’m Ok if your best effort isn’t good enough – night in and night out. That’s part of the game – that’s part of sports. But we need more people sacrificing a little bit more. We need everybody all in and tonight we had some guys who weren’t quite all in.

Forward Jason Arnott
On Chicago being the better team tonight…
They were the better team tonight, no question. Against a team like that, we have to go hard every shift. They took it to us so we definitely have to bring it tomorrow and be ready.

On ending the first period with a 1-0 score…
Yeah, Pekka kept us in it. He made some great saves. When we tied it up we had a little bit of momentum – then they got a couple and it seemed to deflate us a little. We’ve got to bounce back a little.

Forward Martin Erat
On Chicago capitalizing on Nashville’s mistakes…
When we are playing that badly we need to play better. The last two games were not how we are supposed to play. We just have to play better for sixty minutes; it’s not about one period, it’s all about sixty minutes.

On feeling slow from coming off of the Western road trip...
It doesn’t matter. We are hockey players and we need to get used to it. We have to go into their building tomorrow and steal two points from them.

Defenseman Shea Weber
On feeling slow after the Western road trip…
There are no excuses. We’ve got to be ready to go and we’ve got to be better.

On playing against the top team in the Western Conference…
Well, there are a lot of good teams. As you can see from the standings it’s tight the whole way through. They are a good team, but there are a lot of good teams.

Goaltender Pekka Rinne
On playing against the top team in the Western Conference…
It was a tough game; it is hard to win in the NHL, especially against a team like Chicago. I think we tried hard, but we didn’t play hard. There’s a big difference and it was just one of those games where, especially on home ice, it just makes it that much more disappointing.

On Chicago capitalizing on Nashville’s mistakes…
They did, but they also executed good plays. During the second period, they scored three goals and that changed the game. They really executed well and I think we made some mistakes.

scoring summary
1st Period
PPG - Dustin Byfuglien (11) ASST: Jonathan Toews (14)
1 - 0 CHI
2nd Period
Martin Erat (13) ASST: NONE
1 - 1 Tie
Patrick Kane (13) ASST: Jonathan Toews (15), Cam Barker (9)
2 - 1 CHI
Andrew Ladd (6) ASST: Tomas Kopecky (3), Brian Campbell (18)
3 - 1 CHI
Patrick Sharp (12) ASST: Tomas Kopecky (4), Duncan Keith (26)
4 - 1 CHI
3rd Period
penalty summary
1st Period
J-P Dumont  Tripping against  John Madden
Francis Bouillon  Tripping against  Marian Hossa
2nd Period
Andrew Ladd  Hi-sticking against  Jason Arnott
Ryan Jones  Roughing against  Ben Eager
Ben Eager  Cross checking against  Ryan Jones
Brent Seabrook  Interference against  Martin Erat
Francis Bouillon  Hooking against  Jonathan Toews
3rd Period
Jordan Hendry  Hi-sticking against  Ryan Jones
goalie stats
Cristobal Huet
Cristobal Huet
SA: 26TOI: 59:53
Saves: 25EV: 18 - 19
PIM: 0PP: 5 - 5
SV%: .962SH: 2 - 2
Pekka Rinne
SA: 40TOI: 60:00
Saves: 36EV: 32 - 35
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .900SH: 1 - 1 is the official Web site of the Nashville Predators and are trademarks of the Nashville Predators.  NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Nashville Predators and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

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