NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Nashville Predators made quick work of the Chicago Blackhawks for their season-opening eighth straight victory.
Paul Kariya had a goal and an assist, Tomas Vokoun made a season-high 38 saves and the Predators scored three first-period goals in their 5-3 victory Tuesday night.
The Predators, two off the NHL record of 10 straight wins at the start of a season set by Toronto in 1993-94, matched the second-longest streak in league history. The 1934-35 Maple Leafs and 1975-76 Buffalo Sabres also opened with eight wins in a row.
``We're in pretty elite company right now,'' coach Barry Trotz said. ``I told the team that if we can do something special, go for it. If it happens, great. If not, we'll move on.''
The Predators will face Columbus on the road Wednesday night before returning home to play Edmonton on Saturday night.
``We are trying not to make a big deal of the record,'' said David Legwand, who also had a goal and an assist. ``We are aware of our situation, but it is early.''
Martin Erat also had a goal and an assist, Steve Sullivan and Yanic Perreault added goals, and Scott Hartnell had three assists for the Predators.
``A lot of credit goes to our penalty killers,'' Trotz said. ``Your best penalty killer is your goaltender and he was great again tonight.''
Chicago outshot Nashville 41-22, but was 1-for-13 on the power play.
``Good teams find a way to cash in on the power play, and we couldn't do that tonight,'' Chicago forward Martin Lapointe said.
Erat opened the scoring with a slap shot that beat goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to the far side, Perreault scored his fourth of the season on a power play with 6:11 remaining, and Kariya scored off a give-and-go with Legwand 1:15 later.
Chicago cut it to 3-2 on goals by Jim Dowd and Matthew Barnaby in the second period, but Legwand made it 4-2 when he banked a shot of the post.
``Leggy's goal sort of stopped the bleeding,'' Trotz said.
Sullivan gave the Predators a 5-2 lead with a breakaway, short-handed goal in the third period before Jim Vandermeer scored a late power-play goal for Chicago.
The game featured five fights between the division rivals. Nashville had no fighting penalties in the first seven games of the season.
``Today, we were oil and water,'' Trotz said. ``We didn't mix very well. We had guys with a little bit of anger.''
With Ottawa's 3-2 loss to Carolina on Monday night, the Predators are the lone unbeaten team in the NHL.
Chicago, coming off a 4-2 win over Minnesota on Sunday, has yet to win consecutive games this season.
Notes: The Predators played the 500th game in franchise history. It was the 499th game for Trotz, who missed a game in his first season with the team to attend a funeral. ... Nashville assistant captain Scott Walker did not play because of an abdominal strain. ... Legwand picked up his 200th career point in the first period, and Kariya was credited with his 400th assist in the second period ... Chicago's Trent Yawney coached his first game since a five-day leave of absence due to the death of his father-in-law.