Predators 5, Blackhawks 1
The losing streak is the Blackhawks’ longest since a team-record 12-game slide at the end of the 1950-51 season. That streak reached 13 games when Chicago lost its first contest in 1951-52.
“I’m disappointed for them because a couple of open nets could have made the difference obviously,” Chicago coach Trent Yawney said. “We played right to the end. You’ve got to respect that for what they’ve gone through, but we’re just a little snake-bit around the net right now.
“It’s gut-check time and it has been for a while. With the exception of a couple of games through this span, I can’t really fault the effort. They’re not trying not to score. It’s not like they’re missing the net purposely.”
“I think tonight we had a great start,” Perreault said. “Chris Mason made the big saves early on, and we had a big goal from Smithson. We scored on our chances.”
Mark Bell had a third-period goal for Chicago.
“We played some good games in this stretch and it’s not really indicative of the way we’ve played,” Bell said.
Sullivan is a former Chicago player.
“They work as hard, if not harder, than anybody in the league,” Sullivan said. “I think we were able to capitalize on a few mistakes that they made. I think they’re a little vulnerable mentally and I think once they got down a couple of goals they were like, ‘Here we go again.”’
“When we outshoot teams 35-21, the other goalie is outplaying me right now,” Anderson said. “That can’t happen if we want to turn it around.”
Chicago forward Tuomo Ruutu left the game late in the second period after jamming his right skate against the back of the net. Ruutu, who has missed 30 games this season because of a sore back, was helped from the ice by teammates.
Smithson opened the scoring at 9:01 of the first period. From the front of the net, he batted in a rebound of Jordin Tootoo’s shot from the left boards.
Hall made it 2-0 with 1:40 left in the first, completing a 2-on-1 with Scott Harntell. Hall and Hartnell skated in against Chicago defenseman Adrian Aucoin after Aucoin’s defense partner, Jaroslav Spacek, passed the puck right onto Hartnell’s stick in the neutral zone.
Perreault’s tip-in at 11:44 of the second, just a second after a Chicago penalty expired, stretched Nashville’s lead to 3-0. At the left side of the crease, Perreault redirected in Martin Erat’s pinpoint, cross-ice feed.
Perreault’s second goal, during a 4-on-4 at 2:46 of the third, made it 4-0. After Aucoin blocked Perreault’s first shot, Perreault chipped in his own rebound.
Sullivan was awarded the penalty shot at 6:24 of the third after being hooked from behind. He used a backhander to beat Anderson, who faced two penalty shots in the Blackhawks’ previous game, a 3-2 loss to Vancouver on Thursday night.
Bell made it 5-1 at 7:36 when his shot from the right circle hit Mason and went into the net.
Chicago’s last win was Dec. 16 against St. Louis. … Predators F Scott Walker returned to the lineup after missing 33 games because of a sports hernia. … Nashville D Ryan Suter was struck in the face by the puck early in the second period. He returned in the third. … Yawney said Khabibulin skated Sunday wearing goal equipment, but didn’t face shots or make any goalie-specific lateral movements. … Chicago forward Curtis Brown sprained a knee in the game. … Nashville defensemen Jamie Allison and forward Scottie Upshall and Chicago defenseman Todd Simpson and forwards Rene Bourque and Andy Hilbert were healthy scratches.