Friday, December 4, 2009

Predators Stun Blackhawks With 4-1 Win

Paced by outstanding goaltending by Dan Ellis and balanced scoring, the Nashville Predators surprised the Chicago Blackhawks with a 4-1 victory at the United Center on Friday night. The win moves the Predators within three points of the Hawks in the tough Central Division.

Ellis stopped 34 of 35 shots by the Hawks and was under constant pressure for the entire sixty minutes of play.

Dan Hamhuis, Martin Erat, Jordin Tootoo and Joel Ward all had goals in a contest that was a one goal game up until the Preds broke it open with two goals in the last couple of minutes.

The Preds started the game giving all they had but were completely out skated in the first period by the more talented Hawks team. Jonathan Toews broke through with the first goal at 11:50 when he faked Dan Hamhuis and made an incredible move on Dan Eliis that few goal keepers could have anticipated.

Dan Hamhuis made up for the miscue at 17:04 in the first with a slap shot from the right circle that Cristobal Huet never saw due to a screen by Paric Hornqvist. Cal O'Reilly had the secondary assist on the play for his first point of the year as a Predator.

The Predators came out in the second and looked like a different team. After being out shot 15-6 in the first period, the Preds out-played and out-shot the Hawks 9-8 in the middle period.

A scary moment came early in the second at 1:17 when Kevin Klein was tripped near the board by Troy Brouwer in a very dangerous move that appeared to have ended the night for Klein. After some time in the locker room, Klein came back for four shifts in the period. The Preds had a very spirited power play after the penalty firing repeatedly at the net and getting three shots during the man advantage.

At 7:01 in the second Jordin Tootoo fired a shot at the net that went off Martin Erat for a goal that put the Preds up 2-1. The goal was reviewed for no apparent reason.

During a Chicago power play, at 14:15 David Legwand made the defensive play of the game, going to his knees in the crease to keep the puck out of the net.

The theme of the third period was desperate hockey by the Blackhawks. On a Predator power play just past the midpoint of the period, the Preds did not get a shot and spent most of the man advantage in their own defensive zone. The pressure by the Hawks was intense from that point forward.

Just when Pred fans were waiting for the the other shoe to fall, at 17:57 at the end of a good shift by the Erat-Tootoo-Goc line, Jordin Tootoo blew a shot from the slot past Huet to put the Preds up 3-1 and seal the game.

Surprisingly, thirty five seconds later, after a line change, David Legwand made a cross ice pass to Joel Ward who was skating in the slot for a beautiful one-timer to make it 4-1 Preds.

The line of Erat-Tootoo-Goc played an outstanding game picking up two goals and three assists while the primary Hawks defenders completely shut down the Preds first line that only managed two shots, both by Jason Arnott.

The Predators left immediately after the game to return home where they will face the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night at the Sommet Center at 7 p.m.

More Later...

Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass

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