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Nashville Predators 2, Chicago Blackhawks 5 FINAL

NHL.com @NHL

CHICAGO (AP) _ Nashville goalie Tomas Vokoun was an All-Star last weekend, but hardly stellar in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.

Vokoun was chased midway through the second period after the Blackhawks scored five goals on 18 shots to take control of the game. Backup Chris Mason stopped the remaining 14 Chicago shots, but that wasn't nearly enough for the Predators.

``I felt pretty good at the start of the game,'' Vokoun said. ``It's a nightmare, especially when you feel good and something like this happens.

``Tonight it was just a bad game by me and by a lot of guys,'' he added. ``We can't afford to play with 10 guys. We need 20 guys playing.''

Steve Sullivan, Alex Zhamnov and Bryan Berard each had a goal and an assist as Chicago won consecutive games for the first time since early November and posted its third victory in its last four matches.

Mark Bell and Ryan VandenBussche also scored for the Blackhawks, who got 25 saves from goalie Craig Anderson.

``We were really ready to play as a team tonight,'' Chicago coach Brian Sutter said. ``We were solid as a group. Our penalty killing was good in the first period and our power play was sharp.''

Chicago was 2-for-5 with the man advantage. Nashville was 1-for-5.

The Blackhawks, who have struggled offensively all season, have 18 goals in their last four games.

Denis Arkhipov and Adam Hall scored for the Predators, who have lost three straight and allowed 14 goals during that span.

Nashville coach Barry Trotz rated his team's effort one of its worst this season. But despite losing, the Predators remained tied with St. Louis for eighth place and the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

``I think we were fine the first 10 minutes of the game,'' Trotz said. ``There was about a 30-minute span where we didn't do anything.''

Arkhipov opened the scoring 4:07 in when he was set up alone at the edge of the crease by Martin Erat's cross-ice pass.

The Blackhawks, however, scored the next five goals.

Bell tied it 1-1 later in the first period when his shot from the top of the left circle deflected in off Vokoun's pad.

``The thing is I took new pads,'' Vokoun said. ``There's no way I can close a spot between my legs. It was an easy clear shot, I was down at the time and it popped through.

``That had a domino effect.''

Berard gave Chicago a 2-1 lead with 1:08 left in the period with a power-play goal from the top of the slot.

Zhamnov made it 3-1 early in the second from the edge of the crease after taking Kyle Calder's pass from behind the net.

Sullivan's power-play goal extended the lead to 4-1. He was set up by Zhamnov's pass across the crease.

VandenBussche stretched it to 5-1 at 8:14 of the second when he skated to the net and banged in Igor Korolev's feed.

Mason replaced Vokoun after VandenBussche's goal.

Hall cut it to 5-2 with a power-play goal at 4:39 of the third. He deflected in Jason York's shot from the blue line.

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