Another fine performance from Pekka Rinne helped Nashville cruise to victory.(PHOTO: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports)

Central Division: Preds Pummel Blues, Hawks Top Sharks

The Nashville Predators gained some ground on St. Louis in the Central Division last night by giving the them a good old-fashioned beating. They could only hold position against the Chicago Blackhawks, though, as they improved their league-leading record to 8-0-2.

Around The Central Division: February 6, 2013

YESTERDAY

Nashville Predators 6, St. Louis Blues 1

In their first eight games of the season, the Nashville Predators averaged just 1.5 goals per game. Last night they raised that average to 2.0 with a shocking victory over a Blues team that had already beaten Nashville twice this year.

Ryan Ellis scored his second of the season on the power play just 2:10 into the game. The Preds held that lead for nearly 14 minutes before Rich Clune collected his first career NHL goal, opening the floodgates and drowning the crowd at Scottrade Center in a wholly unexpected wave of Nashville offense. Colin Wilson‘s three assists and Martin Erat‘s two plus a goal topped the club for points on the night.

Pekka Rinne extended his perfect streak at even strength to three games with some vintage work between the pipes. He shut down Vladimir Tarasenko on several occasions, including this beauty:

After a pretty terrible start to the season, Nashville is now just one point behind the Blues. Check out my recap for more unexpected goal-scoring goodness.

Detroit is in 4th place in the Central Division

Jarome Iginla finally got on the scoresheet for Calgary last night. (PHOTO: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports)

Calgary Flames 4, Detroit Red Wings 1

Jarome Iginla scored his first goal of the year and the Flames handed Detroit its second loss in a row. Despite outshooting Calgary, Detroit couldn’t convert often enough to hold off the Flames. They did take out workhorse Calgary goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, though, when Johan Franzen crashed into him in the third period. Being left with Leland Irving in net probably isn’t going to help the Flames much.

The loss dropped the Red Wings to fourth place in the Central Division, two points behind Nashville and two ahead of Columbus.

Former Central Division forward Jeff Carter

Jeff Carter scored on his old team in a rout. (PHOTO: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Kings 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 2

The Los Angeles Kings avenged an earlier loss to the Blue Jackets . Jeff Carter, who played for Columbus part of last year before being traded to L.A., faced boos all night from the Blue Jackets faithful. If they fazed him it didn’t show as he collected his fourth goal of the season on the power play in the second period.

Jonathan Quick stopped 18 of 20 shots for the win. Steve Mason stopped 27 of 31 in the loss. Rink Royalty enjoys the two points.

Central Division forward Patrick Kane

Two goals for Patrick Kane were the difference in San Jose. (PHOTO: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports)

Chicago Blackhawks 5, San Jose Sharks 3

Two of the highest-powered offenses in the Western Conference reeled off a combined six goals in the first 11:37 of this game, including four in the space of a minute and a half. Then Patrick Kane scored a goal in the second and an empty-netter late to give the Blackhawks yet another win.

Blades of Teal regrets the Sharks’ mistakes. Blackhawk Up feels good to be alive.

Transactions

Columbus Blue Jackets activated LW Matt Calvert off injured reserve and reassigned C Jonathan Audy-Marchessault to Springfield (AHL).

Standings

Leaders

Points: Patrick Kane (CHI) – 15
Goals:
Marian Hossa (CHI), Patrick Kane (CHI) – 6
Assists:
Patrick Kane (CHI) – 9
PIM:
Jared Boll (CBJ) – 44
Wins:
Corey Crawford6
GAA:
Corey Crawford (CHI) – 1.82
SV%:
Corey Crawford (CHI) – .930

TODAY

All five Central Division teams played last night, and there are no back-to-backs for any of them. That means you can kick back and relax, maybe catch the Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens on NBC Sports Network at 6:30 p.m., and look forward to the Preds returning home tomorrow night for another matchup with the Kings. In the meantime, why not watch Nick Spaling exploit the Blues and Ken Hitchcock make a funny face?

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Tags: Central Division Nashville Predators

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