By JIM DIAMOND | Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Alex Stalock made 35 saves to lead the Chicago Blackhawks over the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Thursday night.
Lukas Reichel and Joey Anderson scored for Chicago, which has won two straight.
Roman Josi scored late and Juuse Saros stopped 19 shots for Nashville, which had its three-game winning streak snapped. The Predators trail Winnipeg by four points in the race for the Western Conference’s second wild-card berth. Nashville has played three fewer games than the Jets.
“It seemed tonight like we didn’t have the energy, the normal energy and competitiveness that we’ve been playing with, and execution,” Predators coach John Hynes said.
Reichel was credited with the game’s first goal with 47 seconds remaining in the opening period.
The Blackhawks entered the Nashville zone on a 2-on-1 break. On the left side, Reichel’s pass attempt was blocked by the stick of sliding Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro. The puck deflected off Fabbro’s stick and on net. Saros stopped it, but Fabbro’s momentum caused him to crash into Saros and knock both the goaltender and the puck into the net in the process.
“The goal was a little lucky,” Reichel said. “It could be a nicer goal, but it doesn’t matter how.”
Stalock denied Matt Duchene on a penalty shot at 13:40 of the second period. Duchene fumbled the puck and did not get much on a wrist shot that was easily turned aside by Stalock.
“He ended up fumbling it, which was a big bonus for me,” Stalock said.
The penalty shot was awarded when Stalock was whistled for throwing his stick as Nashville’s Rasmus Asplund stickhandled behind the Chicago net.
“He was all alone in front so I had to be aggressive on him,” Stalock said. “He ended up going behind the net and (I’m) kind of down and out. It was a poke check and obviously it slips out of (my) hand, so it’s an automatic call.”
Stalock’s best save of the game came at 11:15 of the first, when he denied Philip Tomasino on a breakaway. Tomasino tried to snap a wrist shot between Stalock’s pads, but the goaltender was able to squeeze them together just in time.
Anderson added an insurance goal at 8:01 of the third off an assist from Boris Katchouk, who has four points in his last two games.
Josi spoiled Stalock’s shutout bid with 24.5 seconds remaining and Saros pulled for an extra skater.
“Most definitely a disappointing loss,” Josi said. “It felt like it just wasn’t our best game. We just didn’t generate enough.”
Nashville had earned at least one in 16 straight games against Chicago, going 13-0-3 during that span. The Predators won the season series 2-1, with both previous matchups played in Chicago.
Stalock improved to 2-6-1 against Nashville.
Blackhawks: Will visit Arizona on Saturday.
Predators: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday.
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