The Predators and Blackhawks have had a unique friendship since Nashville entered the league sixteen years ago and, with Nashville just one point ahead of Chicago from leading the Central Division, tonight was bound to lead to some indiscretions between the two. The Preds and Hawks have already met once this young season; last Saturday, to be exact. Nashville lost in OT to a short-handed goal from Jonathan Toews, but because it was pushed into overtime, Nashville left with the point Chicago didn’t intend to share. Fast-forward to tonight, where the kind folks of Music City welcome in the ever-so-pleasant beings of the Windy City. Here are the highlights:
– Chicago struck first at 12:21 with wrister from Ben Smith for his first goal of the season.
– However, James Neal would retaliate at 19:12 with a clean snap shot for his fifth goal of the season. Seth Jones (3) and Mike Ribeiro (3) would notch the assists.
– James Neal would produce a second goal with another nasty snap shot at 16:12 for his sixth goal of the season. Filip Forsberg (5) would pick up the lone assist
– Just 1:52 into the third, Neal would collect his first natural Hat Trick as a Nashville Predator. Ryan Ellis (4) and Filip Forsberg (6) would collect the assists.
– Andrew Shaw would collect a rather interesting tip-in at 12:36, putting Chicago within one of Nashville.- Chicago would pull Raanta at just under 1:30, but it wouldn’t be enough as Nashville sealed the deal 3-2 in regulation to send the Hawks flocking back to Chicago.
Talk about playing under pressure and completely owning it. THAT’S the Pesky Preds we know and expect to see! And how ’bout these apples: The Nashville Predators are now the only team in the NHL that remains undefeated in regulation. Soak that in for a long moment, Preds fans; you deserve it. Nashville is now 5-0-2 and takes that momentum into Saturday when Patric Hornqvist & the Pittsburgh Penguins pop into town. It’s also James Neal bobble-head night; you want that.