NHL: Alex Stalock, Blackhawks shut down Predators
Alex Stalock made 35 saves, while Lukas Reichel and Joey Anderson each scored, as the visiting Chicago Blackhawks edged the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Thursday night.
After stopping 23 of 26 shots in relief of the injured Petr Mrazek during Chicago’s impressive 6-3 win over NHL-leading Boston from Tuesday, the 35-year-old Stalock was on his game. In total rebuild mode, the Blackhawks (24-38-6, 54 points) have won consecutive contests for the first time since a five-game winning streak from Feb. 17-25.
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Roman Josi’s goal with 25 seconds left in regulation made things interesting, and Juuse Saros stopped 19 shots, but the Predators (34-25-7, 75 points), trying to move into playoff position in the Western Conference, had a three-game winning streak snapped. Nashville, 8-3-1 since Feb. 21, also had its five-game winning streak against the Blackhawks come to an end.
Nashville had the first prime scoring chance of the night when Philip Tomasino found himself on a breakaway with 8:45 remaining in the first period. However, Stalock was up to the challenge to make the save. The Chicago netminder remained stout during the opening frame, and his team eventually gave him the lead.
Via a 2-on-1 with teammate Andreas Athanasiou, Reichel opted to pass the puck, but it caught the shaft of a diving Dante Fabbro’s stick. Fabbro ended up sliding into Saros, along with the puck, which eventually made it over the goal line for the game’s first goal with 47 seconds remaining in the opening period.
Stalock continued his solid play in the second period, stopping all 11 shots the Predators threw at him. The highlight came he faced a penalty shot with 6:20 to go in the second from Matt Duchene, who lost control of the puck, which easily slid in front of Stalock to grab and maintain Chicago’s lead.
The Blackhawks, who ended an 0-4-1 road rut, extended their advantage with just 11:59 minutes remaining in regulation. Off a relentless Chicago forecheck behind the Nashville net, the puck ended up on the stick of Boris Katchouk. He then sent a perfect cross-slot pass for Anderson to convert his third goal in 10 games since coming over from Toronto.
–Field Level Media
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