Juuse Saros stopped 29 shots and Luke Kunin had two assists as the visiting Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 on Saturday night to earn their fourth straight victory.
Nashville scored at 5:10 of the first period on a goal from Ryan Johansen and never trailed after that, building a 2-0 lead 7:48 later as Rocco Grimaldi notched his fifth goal in the past two games.
Two nights after posting a 41-save shutout against the Florida Panthers, Blackhawks goaltender Kevin Lankinen was less sharp as Chicago saw its two-game winning streak snapped. The teams are set to conclude a back-to-back series at the United Center on Sunday night before hosting Chicago next Saturday.
Nashville climbed to within two points of Chicago for fourth place in the Central Division by winning for the sixth time in seven games. The Predators outshot the Blackhawks 34-30 and killed off a pair of penalties.
Each of the Predators’ goals came at even strength, as the team did not have a power play.
Chicago trimmed the deficit to 2-1 at 17:33 of the third, as rookie Pius Suter scored in his third successive game on a goal assisted by Patrick Kane and Adam Boqvist. Suter vaulted into a tie with Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov for the league rookie lead in goals by scoring for the 11th time.
While the Blackhawks began showing improved pace and energy down the stretch, the momentum was stunted just 51 seconds into the third, as Kunin picked off a Calvin de Haan pass and found Granlund, who scored to put Chicago ahead by the final margin.
Kirby Dach made his season debut for the Blackhawks, returning well ahead of schedule after being sidelined for the first 34 games of the season following wrist surgery. Dach was a minus-1 with one shot on goal and one blocked shot in 19 minutes.
Filip Forsberg missed the game for Nashville with an upper-body injury.
–Field Level Media