Blackhawks 3, Predators 2 (SO)
CHICAGO - Michal Rozsival's backhander in the final round of the shootout got past Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 3-2 win Monday at the United Center.
The Predators' Taylor Beck had his shot blocked by Chicago goalie Corey Crawford, ending the game in the Blackhawks' favor.
Jonathan Toews scored the other shootout goal for the Blackhawks, while only Craig Smith scored for Nashville.
Missing their shots in the shootout were the Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad. Missing for the Predators were Patric Hornqvist, David Legwand, Sergei Kostitsyn and Beck.
In the overtime period, Chicago outshot Nashville 4-1 but was unable to capitalize, making the shots margin through the first three periods and the extra period a marked 40-27 edge in the Blackhawks' favor.
Chicago built a 2-0 lead in the game before Nashville scored twice in the third period to send the contest into overtime and subsequently the shootout.
Nashville finally lit the lamp at 3:56 of the third period when Legwand tallied his ninth goal of the season, assisted by Victor Bartley and Kevin Klein.
But that would not be it for the Predators. In almost a carbon copy of Legwand's goal, Nashville's Beck scored his second goal of the season at 7:26 by slipping the puck past Crawford's right side to tie the game at 2-2. Hornqvist and Legwand picked up assists on the goal.
After trouncing the Red Wings 7-1 in Detroit on Sunday, the Hawks looked significantly more like the team that began the season with a 21-0-3 record, the best start in team history - well, at least in the first two periods, when they built a 2-0 lead and played tough defense.
Unfortunately, the Hawks' defensive game fell apart in the third period, not only allowing Nashville to tie the game, but having the Hawks embarrass themselves at times with utterly poor defensive play.
Patrick Kahne got his team-leading 19th goal of the season at 12:10 of the second on a wrist shot that made the score 2-0. Kahne's goal was unassisted.
In addition to having a 2-0 lead, the Hawks dominated the Predators in shots through the first two periods (27-11), including a lopsided 18-4 margin in shots in the second period.
Chicago opened the scoring with 12 seconds remaining in the first period on Brandon Saad's seventh goal of the season, with assists by Niklas Hjalmarsson and Toews.
Crawford got his second straight start in goal for the Blackhawks. Typically, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn't keep the same goalie in back-to-backs, but he decided to do so in this game, most likely because of the way Crawford starred in Sunday's game.
In the only other meeting between the two teams this season, Crawford and the Blackhawks beat the Predators 3-0 for Crawford's first shutout of the season.
Even with Sunday's sheer domination of the Red Wings in Detroit, the Blackhawks came into Monday's game still having lost three of their last five games and five of their last 10.
Nashville, meanwhile, came in with a two-game losing streak but had won its previous three.
NOTES: Before the game, the Blackhawks announced they had acquired veteran center Michal Handzus from the San Jose Sharks for a fourth-round pick in the upcoming 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Handzus has played 939 games in his NHL career, with 180 goals and 281 assists. This will be Handzus' second stint with Chicago, having been acquired in a trade with Philadelphia in 2006. Less than a year later, he became a free agent and signed with the Los Angeles Kings. With the
return of injured Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp still uncertain, Handzus gives the Hawks maturity and veteran leadership. In 27 games with San Jose this season, he had just one goal and one assist. ... Attendance was 21,306. ... The Predators return home to host Columbus on
Tuesday, the start of seven of their next eight games on home ice, including a rematch with the Blackhawks in Nashville on Saturday, followed by a return trip to Chicago on Sunday for the third game with the Blackhawks in one week. The two teams meet once more in Chicago on April 19. Chicago, meanwhile, hosts St. Louis on Thursday before traveling to Nashville for Saturday's game with the Predators.