The Nashville Predators made sure the 65th consecutive sellout crowd at the UnitedCenter didn't have a whole lot to cheer about.
Dan Ellis stopped 34 shots to lead the Predators to a 4-1 victory over Chicago on Friday night, snapping the Blackhawks' eight-game home winning streak.
"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."
Dan Hamhuis, Martin Erat and Jordin Tootoo each had a goal and an assist. Joel Ward also scored for Nashville, which had dropped its last two games. Nashville, 13-4-1 in its last 18, closed to three points behind first-place Chicago -- which dropped to 9-2-1 in its last 12 -- in the Central Division.
"They checked well and they deserved the win," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said of the Predators. "We had a lot more pucks at net early in the game, and then we started to get to cute and the puck wasn't very friendly with us tonight."
Ellis, making just his second start in Nashville's last 12 games, was busiest in the first period when Chicago had 15 shots. But he allowed just one goal -- Jonathan Toews scored at 11:50 following a great individual effort. Toews, who a agreed to a five-year, $31.5 million contract extension on Thursday, took a pass at full speed at center ice, streaked into the slot, stickhandled past Hamhuis and tucked a low shot past Ellis' outstretched right pad.
"Tonight we tried to overdo some things, especially after Jonathan scored," defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We maybe thought it was going to come easy -- and that doesn't happen in this League."
Hamhuis tied it at 17:04 when his screened shot from the outer edge of the right circle beat Cristobal 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 35 seconds apart late in the third period to break it open. Tootoo connected from the slot with 2:03 left, then Ward was set up by David Legwand at the edge of the crease with 1:28 remaining.
"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."