The Nashville Predators crushed the Chicago Blackhawks 6-1 at the United Center to take over 2nd place in the Central Division & 4th place in the western Conference by jumping over Detroit with the 2 points.
The Preds weathered the storm in the first 5 minutes of the game until momentum was turned on a Jordin Tootoo fight that saw the scrappy forward receive a few solid blows to the head that sent him to the dressing room for the rest of the night with what is being reported as an upper body injury. Beginning on the next shift, the Preds began to dominate & never let up scoring 4 goals to chase Hawks starting Goalie Corey Crawford (Ray Emery gave up 2 in relief) The floodgates opened at 6:16 of the 1st when Matt Halischuk scored his 14th goal of the season after a great shift of puck control by Paul Gaustad & Brandon Yip in the corner.
Andrei Kostitsyn scored later in the 1st on a wicked wrist shot that went in just under the crossbar for his 16th goal of the season to make it 2-0. Patric Hornqvist made it 3-0 at 5:42 of the 2nd period on a power play when a Shea Weber shot pinballed off the skate of Alex Radulov & then Hornqvist before finding the back of the net for team leading 25th goal.
Francis Bouillon scored his 2nd, Shea Weber scored his 16th, & Mike Fisher scored his 24th to round out the scoring in the 3rd period as this game was never in doubt & the Preds matched their season high in goals scored in a game. Goaltender Pekka Rinne was very strong with 24 saves & won both games on this back to back weekend.
F Jordin Tootoo left the game against Chicago after a 1st period fight with what is being reported as an upper body injury. F Martin Erat was a late scratch & is reported to have an upper body injury. F Colin Wilson is being brought back slowly from a groin strain, but he is listed as a healthy scratch.
The bottom line…
The Nashville Predators are 44-24-8 (96 Pts) with 6 games remaining and sit 2nd in The Central Division, 7 Pts behind St Louis (6 GR).
-In the Western Conference the Predators are in 4th, with the chase pack: 5 Detroit (95 Pts 7 GR), 6 Chicago (92 Pts 6 GR), 7 Phoenix (87 Pts 5 GR) & 8 LA (86 Pts GR 7) , 9 San Jose (86 7 GR).
-The Predators continue a 3 game road Tues @ St Louis 7 CT, And Fri @ Detroit 6:30 CT.
-The Preds have picked up 2 of a possible 2 points on current 3 game road trip.
-F Matt Halischuk was everywhere Vs Chicago 13:49 time on ice 1G, 1A, +1, 4 shots on goal, 2 hits, & 2 blocked shots.
-F Patric Hornqvist scored 1G Vs Chicago & now leads the team with 25; Mike Fisher also recorded 1G & has 24.
-F Alex Radulov recorder 1A Vs Chicago & has 3 points in 3 games (also had 5 shots on goal) since returning from the KHL .
-The Preds recorded 26 hits (led by Shea Weber 4) & blocked 25 shots (led by Mike Fisher 4 & Kevin Klein 4).
-All but 5 total players on the Preds recorded a point tonight (including Rinne) & the team was combined +20.
-G Pekka Rinne is tied for most wins in the NHL with 41 & has now played in 68 games (previous high 64 last season).
Leg-watch 500- With 1A Vs Chicago, David Legwand now has 497 points in his career (187 G 310 A) with the Predators.