By Amanda DiPaolo
In the first of back-to-back games, the Nashville Predators lost 4-1 to the Chicago Blackhawks. It was the first time the Predators lost to Chicago this season, previously winning by 3-2 and 4-3 (SO) scores.
In net on Wednesday night, it was a battle of the surprising rookies. Corey Crawford has a 9-1-1 record in his last 11 stars after going 1-6-0 to start the season. Anders Lindback had a remarkable December after taking over for the injured Pekka Rinne, losing only once in regulation in eight games. The loss to the defending Stanley Cup champions was the first time Nashville lost two consecutive games in regulation since November 6th and 7th against Los Angeles and Anaheim.
Patric Hornqvist was back in the lineup for Nashville. Wade Belak was also in the lineup. Jordin Tootoo did not play for the Predators. David Legwand and Matthew Lombardi remain on injured reserve.
Chicago was without Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa.
The first period was dominated by the Blackhawks. Before getting on the board, the best scoring chance belonged to Chicago’s Patrick Sharp. Sharp stole the puck from Ryan Suter at Nashville’s blue line and went in alone on Lindback, but was turned away by the rookie goaltender.
Dave Bolland scored with 7:31 left to play in the opening frame. Kevin Klein was feeling pressure with the puck at the blue line, passing it back to Lindback. Lindback attempted to clear the puck out of Nashville’s end but the puck was intercepted by Fernando Pisani who threw the puck over to Bolland. Left all alone in front of Lindback, Bolland scored to make it a 1-0 game.
With no penalties called in the first period, Ryan Suter took the first call of the night with 12:06 left in the middle frame. Suter was called for roughing after shoving Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews after the whistle by the Predators net. Jack Skille scored on the power play for Chicago at 9:28 of the second. Skille’s shot was glove side over the shoulder of Lindback.
Chicago went right back to the power play when Shane O’Brien got called for interference on Bryan Bickell. The Predators were able to kill off the penalty, but Patrick Sharp did have a scoring chance when his shot hit the post.
With just 1:50 left to play in the second period, Nashville got its first man advantage with Dave Bolland in the box for hooking Cal O’Reilly. With Suter and Shea Weber staying on the ice for both power play units, the Predators generated some opportunities but were unable to capitalize before the period ended.
Jack Skille scored his sixth goal of the season in the third period to make it a 3-0 game. The shot was high on the stick side. Skille has two 2-goal games this season, both against the Predators.
Jassen Cullimore was called for hooking Sergei Kostitysn in the middle of the third, and Kostitsyn scored on the man advantage at 11:13 of the final period. It was Nashville’s lone goal. Suter and Erat picked up assists.
Bryan Bickell added his 10th of the season at 17:28 of the third period, just 11 seconds after JP Dumont hit a post down at the other end of the rink.
Nashville returns home to host the Ottawa Senators at 7pm Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.
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Topics: Anaheim Ducks, Anders Lindback, Bryan Bickell, Cal O'Reilly, Chicago Blackhawks, Corey Crawford, Dave Bolland, David Legwand, Fernando Pisani, Jack Skille, Jonathan Toews, Jordin Tootoo, JP Dumont, Kevin Klein, Los Angeles Kings, Marian Hossa, Martin Erat, Matthew Lombardi, Nashville Predators, NHL, Patric Hornqvist, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, Pekka Rinne, Ryan Suter, Sergei Kostitsyn, Shane O'Brien, Shea Weber, Wade Belak