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Kane point streak at 23; Blackhawks defeat Predators

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 23 games with an empty-net goal, and goalie Corey Crawford made 36 saves to help the Chicago Blackhawks defeat the Nashville Predators 4-1 at United Center on Tuesday.

The Blackhawks (15-9-4) were outshot 37-24. Crawford made 12 saves in the first period, 13 in the second, and 11 in the third, three to help kill a Nashville power play midway through the period.

"I felt pretty good," Crawford said. "I made a few key saves at maybe some key points in the game, but I just try to build off it every game. I just try to stay as consistent as I can."

Kane kept his point streak going by scoring an empty-net goal with 1:36 left in the third period. After taking a pass from Artemi Panarin in the defensive zone, Kane shot the puck through the legs of Nashville captain Shea Weber into the Predators net 100 feet away.

It was Kane's 600th NHL point. His streak was already the longest by an American-born player and in Blackhawks history.

"I wasn't thinking about it too much until you go out there in the end there, with the crowd cheering, and you know they're looking for something," Kane said. "That's when you kind of want to get something in the end."

Dennis Rasmussen scored in his NHL debut, and Andrew Shaw and Teuvo Teravainen had a goal and assist for Chicago.

Eric Nystrom scored, and Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for the Predators (14-9-5), who won 3-2 at the Boston Bruins on Monday. Nashville is 3-6-2 in its past 11 games but outshot its opponent for the fifth time in its past six.

"We can sit here and say, 'Oh yeah, we're getting chances,' but who cares?" Weber said. "We're not winning games. We're not scoring goals. That's the bottom line. It's not good enough."

It couldn't have gone much better for Rasmussen, whose family flew in from Sweden on short notice to see his first NHL game. The 25-year-old was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Monday and scored at 10:45 of the first period.

A day after working on tipping shots in practice, the 6-foot-3 center camped in front of the net and tipped a shot from Shaw past Rinne to put Chicago up 1-0.

"The guys were kind of kidding me about it too, that we worked on it [Monday] and I scored on a tip," said Rasmussen, who signed as an undrafted free agent in June 2014. "[Bryan Bickell] has been on me pretty much in Rockford, too, because I scored a couple goals on tips. I was real happy to see it go in."

Crawford allowed Chicago to build a 2-0 lead on Shaw's power-play goal at 14:15 of the second.

"Great saves," Kane said. "Breakaways, 2-on-1s, seeing pucks back door ... But you come to expect it from [Crawford]. He's a big part of our team and keeps us in a lot of games when we give up some things."

Nystrom made it 2-1 with 45.3 seconds left in the period by tapping in a precise pass by defenseman Roman Josi, who carried the puck into the offensive zone and skated past Chicago's top two defensemen, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

The Blackhawks responded on the first shift of the third when Teravainen scored his sixth goal at 14 seconds to make it 3-1.

Nashville came into the game ranked 29th in the NHL in penalty killing at 74.7 percent and allowed another power-play goal. The Predators have given up 12 goals while shorthanded in their past 10 games.

"We're going through a bit of a tough stretch right now," Nashville defenseman Seth Jones said. "It's not due to lack of effort, I think, or guys not giving it their all. It's just kind of the way it's going right now."

The Predators played without forward Colin Wilson (lower body). Austin Watson entered the lineup and played on the fourth line, and Craig Smith moved into Wilson's spot at left wing on the second line.

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