Preds hold lead early, fall to Blackhawks 5-4

Source: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images North America

So I asked the in the previous post (the Philadelphia one) as to who would be in net for Nashville tonight. Who is surprised it was Pekka again? Now, don’t get me wrong, if I had my way, Pekka would be half human/half machine and fully capable of handling a full 82-game season; no offense, Hutton. But alas, he is a mere mortal and needs a rest every now and then. However, there’s a good chance Rinne will not rest for tomorrow’s game either, as St. Louis is nipping at our heels as I type. Call me a worrier, but after losing him last season to that E. Coli hip, I have every reason to be nervous of his health. Though the Predators have gained strength under the leadership of Peter Laviolette, Pekka Rinne is still saving their butts more often than not.

Anywho, let’s discuss Chicago, who sits just two points ahead of Nashville for first in the Central Division. However, to discuss the bigger picture, it seems as if Anaheim is Nashville’s biggest threat thus far (when discussing the Cup); they are currently 24-8-6. So a night in the Windy City then back home to face the Blues? Giddy-up.

First Period:

  • Roman Josi got the party started at 11:50 in the United Center with a snap shot past Corey Crawford for his fifth goal of the season. Paul Gaustad tallies the lone assist.
  • Craig Smith pushed Nashville up 2-0 with a wrister at 17:12, his 11th goal of the season. Colin Wilson (9) and Mike Ribeiro (21) claim the assists.

Second Period:

  • James Neal picked up his 12th goal at 7:28 with a excellent tip-in with assistance from Colin Wilson (10) and Pekka Rinne (1). No, that isn’t a typo – Rinne, in fact, picked up the assist.
  • Brad Richards cut the Predators lead 3-1 at 10:33 with a slap shot past Rinne for his seventh goal of the season.
  • Chicago would then come within one of Nashville at 15:48 with a wrister from Andrew Shaw, his sixth of the season.
  • Just two minutes later, Chicago would tie it with slapshot from Marian Hossa on the power play, his eighth goal of the season.
  • With a power play goal of his own, James Neal gave Nashville the lead once again, his second goal of the night and 13th of the season. Filip Forsberg (21) and Roman Josi (17) collect the assists.

Third Period:

  • Sadly, at 18:47 with the extra attacker, Bryan Bickell sends a wrister past Rinne to tie the game, sending it into overtime.

Overtime:

  • No goals in overtime – to the shootout we go.

Shootout:

  • NSH – Ryan Ellis – MISS
  • CHI – Jonathan Toews – GOAL
  • NSH – Craig Smith – MISS
  • CHI – Patrick Kane – MISS
  • NSH – Filip Forsberg – MISS

And with that, the Nashville Predators fall 5-4 in the shootout and are now 24-9-3. As I have mentioned several times, the Predators take on the Blues tomorrow night at home. Luckily, the Blues may be just as exhausted as they, too have played tonight. However… they beat the Avalanche 3-0. Sheesh.

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