Despite being outshot 41-30, the Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks by a shocking score of 7-2 — and kicked ass in the process. Nashville showed up to play Saturday night, which was quite a refreshing moment after being outscored 17-2 in the last four games combined. This match was a classic example of underestimating your opponent.
The Predators opened up the scoring 7:28 in by netting two goals in fifty-seven seconds. Matt Cullen scored off a rebound, then Nick Spaling sniped Nikolai Khabibulin high glove side, which would be the final goal scored on him that night. Khabibulin left the game 15:23 in the first due to a lower body injury, which according to Blackhawks' head coach Joel Quenneville, could keep him out for "a bit".
Patric Hornqvist scored the eventual game-winner on the power play 9:02 into the second off of a deflection from Roman Josi's shot from the point. To go up a shocking four goals and reward the fans with free Frosty's, Craig Smith scored on Corey Crawford high blocker side alone in the low slot after a horrible break-out pass by Michal Roszival was intercepted by Cullen.
Chicago did answer back with two unanswered goals from Patrick Kane just thirty-six seconds after Smith's goal and Brandon Pirri 6:14 in the third period in an attempt to start a memorable come-back. However, shortly after Pirri cut the lead to two, former-Blackhawk Victor Stalberg scored to regain the three goal lead.
Mike Fisher and Shea Weber each earned goals to cap off the 7-2 victory for the Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
– Nikolai Khabulin's injury could be serious. Being just right behind the net, it appeared the forty-year-old may have pulled or strained a muscle extending his left leg to make the half-butterfly save. Either way, it appears the Blackhawks will have to look to Antti Raanta to be back-up.
– There couldn't have been a better team to beat the hell out of then Chicago with approximately 8,000 Hawks fans in the arena. The offensive surge by Nashville quieted those who wore red.
– Marek Mazanec played spectacularly against the high-powered Chicago offense. After getting pulled allowing four goals to the Penguins the night before, Mazanec showed his resilience by stopping thirty-nine shots in his first NHL victory.
– Shea Weber's assist on Patric Hornqvist's goal in the first period was the captain's 300th career NHL point.
– Special teams did their job and was key in their massive victory. The power play was two-for-five, while the penalty kill was 100% successful in shutting down Chicago's four PP's.
NSH – 1-0: Matt Cullen – Smith and Jones at 7:28 in the 1st
NSH – 2-0: Nick Spaling – Smith (2) and Ellis at 8:25 in the 1st
NSH – 3-0: PP Patric Hornqvist – Josi and Weber at 9:02 in the 2nd
NSH – 4-0: Craig Smith – Cullen at 18:18 in the 2nd
CHI – 4-1: Patrick Kane – Bollig and Keith at 18:44 in the 2nd
CHI – 4-2: Brandon Pirri – Seabrook and Versteeg at 6:14 in the 3rd
NSH – 5-2: Viktor Stalberg – Bourque and Legwand at 6:29 in the 3rd
NSH – 6-2: Mike Fisher – Hornqvist at 12:19 in the 3rd
NSH – 7-2: PP Shea Weber – Josi (2) and Legwand (2) at 14:07 in the 3rd
NSH: Marek Mazanec (W) – 39 saves on 41 shots; played 60:00
CHI: Corey Crawford (L) – 17 saves on 22 shots; played 44:27
Nikolai Khabibulin – 6 saves on 8 shots; played 15:23
My Three Stars
1. Marek Mazanec: 39 saves and 1st NHL win
2. Craig Smith: Goal and 2 Assists
3. Roman Josi: 2 Assists
Line Up Report
Predators scratches: Forsberg, Nystrom and Ekholm
Predators starters: Wilson, Fisher, Hornqvist, Weber, Josi and Mazanec
Blackhawks scratches: Hossa
Blackhawks starters: Versteeg, Toews, Sharp, Hjalmarsson, Oduya and Khabibulin