NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A disputed tripping call turned things in Chicago’s favor.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist to lead the Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
Kane scored with 5:12 left in the third period after Jonathan Toews tied it minutes earlier on a power play by tipping in Brent Seabrook’s slap shot.
Chicago was awarded the man advantage after Craig Smith skated through Chicago’s crease, making contact with Corey Crawford and sending him to the ice. Smith was assessed a minor penalty for tripping.
“It’s a missed call,” Smith said. “It happens too much. I guess it’s a good play by him because the ref’s not looking and he’s able to stick his leg out and act like I ran into him. But I was crossing the crease. I wasn’t trying to hit him. He obviously turned and stuck his knee out, but if the refs don’t catch it, good play by him.”
Crawford, who won his first game since returning from an early December appendectomy, thought he was just standing his ground in the crease.
“I was just trying to brace myself and it didn’t really work too well,” Crawford said.
Artem Anisimov also scored and Crawford made 36 saves to help Chicago snap a three-game losing streak, the Blackhawks’ longest skid of the season.
“We did some good things as the game progressed and I’m certainly very happy for the win,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “(We had) a couple big power-play goals tonight as well.”
Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher scored for Nashville, and Ryan Johansen had two assists. The Predators have lost three straight.
“I think our guys did a lot of good things out there tonight and didn’t get rewarded for that,” Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. “We’ll move on to tomorrow night.”
With the score tied at 2 late in the third, Kane picked up the puck in the defensive zone in front of Predators defenseman Roman Josi. Kane carried the puck into the Nashville zone on the right side and fired a wrist shot from the faceoff dot that beat Pekka Rinne on the short side. Rinne finished with 20 saves.
“I was surprised the defenseman didn’t pinch there and the next thing I knew, our bench was yelling, ‘3-on-2’ and then ‘4-on-2,'” Kane said. “You just try to have confidence in yourself there trying to make a good play. Their ‘D’ kind of backed in, so I thought with a couple of guys driving the net I could take a shot there.”
Kane’s two points gave him 700 in his career.
Anisimov opened the scoring at 13:19 of the opening period. With the Blackhawks on a power play, Duncan Keith fired a one-timer from the center of the blue line toward the Nashville net. Stationed just outside of Rinne’s crease, Anisimov tipped the puck in for his 16th goal of the season.
Nashville has allowed the first goal in nine of its last 10 games.
Artemi Panarin assisted on the goal as well, extending his points streak to a career-best nine games. On Wednesday, Panarin signed a $12 million, two-year contract extension with the Blackhawks.
Forsberg tied it 35 seconds later.
Just inside Chicago’s blue line, Johansen jumped and gloved down a clearing attempt before sending a cross-ice pass to Forsberg above the left faceoff circle. There, Forsberg beat Crawford with a one-timer. After scoring just three goals in Nashville’s first 30 games this season, Forsberg has four in his last five.
Nashville took the lead at 6:13 of the third on a power-play goal from Fisher.
Johansen found Ekholm at the left faceoff dot, where he drifted toward the Chicago net. Ekholm drew Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson to him and then slid a pass to Fisher in front, where the Nashville captain had a tap-in for his 10th goal of the season.
Notes: Predators RW James Neal did not return to the game following the second period. The team said he was out with an upper-body injury. … Nashville D P.K. Subban missed his sixth consecutive game with an upper-body injury. He will not play Friday at St Louis. … Blackhawks D Brian Campbell was a healthy scratch, ending his stretch of 423 consecutive games played.