|NSH||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|CHI||1||1||1||(0 - 0)||3|
After two tough losses on the road, the Blackhawks got back to their winning ways at home on Sunday, defeating the Nashville Predators 3-1. The win gave the Hawks a split in the home-and-home series against their divisional rival.
“We hadn’t beaten these guys yet this season,” said Duncan Keith. “It’s an important two points. We showed them that we could beat them tonight.”
Dustin Byfuglien opened the scoring early with a power play goal in the first, ripping a rising shot from the circle that beat Nashville’s Dan Ellis high on the glove side.
“Our last couple of games, we didn’t have very good starts,” said goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. “Coming back home, we really wanted to have a good first period and use the fans to our advantage. I thought we did that pretty well tonight.”
The Predators responded with a goal of their own, a tip-in from Martin Erat off a good feed from Jordin Tootoo. But the Hawks pulled ahead for good when Dave Bolland followed a deflected shot by Andrew Ladd with a wrist shot in the second period.
Although they managed just three goals in the game, Chicago was able to keep the pressure up throughout the third period. The Hawks got several good scoring chances in the final period but just couldn't convert; Ellis stopped Bolland on a breakaway with a left pad save midway through the third and minutes later Havlat hit the post and then Ellis made a close-in stop on Ladd. On the Hawks’ own end, Khabibulin made some quality saves to preserve the lead.
“I think the last three games we’ve seen quality goaltending on both ends and we haven’t had the kind of high-scoring games we were used to,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “The game was tight, but Khabby made some nice saves to hold the one-goal lead.”
Khabibulin improved his record to 13-3-4 with the win, and the goalie is 7-0-3 at the United Center.
The Blackhawks play five more games before the All-Star break – four of them at home – and know that they’ll have to keep up the intensity they showed tonight.
“This is the part of the season where it gets to be a tough go,” said Keith. “We need to do the smart things on and off the ice that will make the difference.”
Chicago welcomes Buffalo to the United Center Wednesday night. The match-up will be the first time that defenseman Brian Campbell will face his former team in a Hawks uniform.
Notes: Chicago RW Troy Brouwer and D Aaron Johnson were healthy scratches. ... The crowd of 21,666 was Chicago's 19th sellout in 19 home games this season.
|PPG - Dustin Byfuglien (9) Slapshot - ASST: Brent Seabrook (8), Duncan Keith (19)|
1 - 0 CHI
|Martin Erat (11) Tip-in - ASST: Jordin Tootoo (4), David Legwand (13)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Dave Bolland (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Andrew Ladd (18), Martin Havlat (22)|
2 - 1 CHI
|EN - Martin Havlat (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Duncan Keith (20)|
3 - 1 CHI
|Jerred Smithson Slashing against Ben Eager|
|Jordin Tootoo Hooking against Andrew Ladd|
|J-P Dumont Too many men/ice - bench|
|Cam Barker Tripping against J-P Dumont|
|Antti Pihlstrom Slashing against James Wisniewski|
|Craig Adams Interference against Ryan Jones|
|Jerred Smithson Hooking against Patrick Kane|
|SA: 32||TOI: 58:52|
|Saves: 30||EV: 26 - 27|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 4|
|SV%: .938||SH: 1 - 1|
|SA: 27||TOI: 59:41|
|Saves: 26||EV: 22 - 23|
|PIM: 0||PP: 3 - 3|
|SV%: .963||SH: 1 - 1|