Predators pull away late to beat Blackhawks
Ellis made 34 saves, and
Ellis, making just his second start in Nashville’s last 12 games, was busiest in the first period when Chicago had 15 shots.
“The ‘D’ did an awesome job of letting me see the puck,” Ellis said. “It was a big game for us. We hung on until the end, got a big penalty kill and some goals to relieve the pressure.”
Nashville was clinging to a 2-1 lead until goals by Tootoo and Ward 35 seconds apart late in the third period sealed it.
“Ellie played real well tonight,” Tootoo said. “They took it to us with some excellent chances and he held us in. We had to be strong defensively.”
For much of the game, however, Chicago wasn’t able to generate many close chances and even fewer rebounds. When the
“We were trying to get some pucks to the net and hopefully get some rebounds,” Chicago’s
Nashville, 13-4-1 in its last 18, closed to three points behind first-place Chicago in the
Toews, who a agreed to a five-year, $31.5 million contract extension on Thursday, opened the scoring midway through the first to cap a standout individual effort. After taking a pass at full speed at center ice, Toews streaked down the Nashville slot, beat Hamhuis with a stickhandling move and tucked a low shot past Ellis’ outstretched right pad.
“Tonight we tried to overdo some things, especially after Jonathan scored,” Campbell said. “We maybe thought it was going to come easy and that doesn’t happen in this league.”
Hamhuis tied it at 1 with 2:56 left in the period. His screened shot from the outer edge of the right circle slipped past Huet on the glove side.
Erat was credited with a deflected goal at 7:01 of the second that withstood a video review to put Nashville ahead 2-1. Tootoo turned and fired a shot from the left circle, and the puck banked in off Erat’s left skate after he stopped at the edge of the crease.
Tootoo and Ward scored late in the third period to break it open.
Tootoo connected from the slot with 2:03 left, then Ward was set up by Dave Legwand at the edge of the crease with 1:28 remaining.
NOTES: Nashville C