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Rinne helps Predators hold off Blackhawks

Goalie makes 43 saves; Jarnkrok, Smith score for Nashville

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Pekka Rinne made 43 saves, and Calle Jarnkrok and Craig Smith scored in the second period to help the Nashville Predators defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 at United Center on Friday.

Rinne improved to 5-1-2 and has not lost in regulation in his past seven games.

"It feels great, a big division game," Rinne said. "A big two points. Obviously not the start we wanted, but we were able to hang in there. And then from the second period on, I thought we played pretty well, started creating more offense, creating more chances and eventually got on the board. Big goals by [Jarnkrok] and [Smith]."

 

[WATCH: All Predators vs. Blackhawks highlights]

 

The Predators (5-3-2) are 2-3-1 on the road and 3-0-1 against Central Division opponents.

"It was a slow start," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said. "We didn't talk about much systematically or mistakes we were making. We talked about speed and effort and changed the lines to give it a different look, but you've got to give the players the credit because they went out in the second and third period and won a hockey game."

Video: NSH@CHI: Rinne turns away multiple chances

The Blackhawks (5-4-2) are 1-3-1 in their past five games.

Artem Anisimov gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead with 25.6 seconds remaining in the first period. Nick Schmaltz had a shorthanded breakaway that was saved by Rinne, but Anisimov got to the rebound for his second goal.

"Definitely a tough loss," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I mean there were more positives than a lot of games. We probably played our best period outside of the first two periods in the Pittsburgh game."

Jarnkrok scored 57 seconds into the second period to tie the game 1-1. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith turned the puck over to Jarnkrok in the slot, and he beat goaltender Corey Crawford for his first goal.

Video: NSH@CHI: Jarnkrok nets wrister after turnover

Smith gave the Predators a 2-1 lead at 11:02 on the power play on a wrist shot from the left face-off circle. He took a pass from P.K. Subban and beat Crawford for his second goal. It was the 100th career NHL goal for Smith.

"It feels good," Smith said. "After the first, I thought we made some good adjustments. I thought we came out with a head of steam. Obviously there was a lot of penalties so it was a bit choppy as far as the flow of the game, but I thought we handled it well. Just stayed positive. Like I said, we just made adjustments, we were committed to it and we found a way to get the points."

Video: NSH@CHI: Anisimov pots SHG to open scoring

 

Goal of the game

Smith's goal at 11:02 of the second period.

Video: NSH@CHI: Smith pots 100th career goal on power play

 

Save of the game

Rinne's backhand save with his blocker on Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews at 5:11 of the third period.

 

Highlight of the game

Rinne's save on Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad's shorthanded breakaway attempt at 8:04 of the first period.

Video: NSH@CHI: Rinne denies Saad on rush

 

They said it

"After the second period we really wanted to make sure that we want to be a team that's going to score the next goal, and we want to keep attacking. We want to play aggressive. I think a lot of times when you're trying to protect a lead, things start getting a little bit harder. I think still a little bit too many penalties, myself included. That was a dumb penalty, but that's one of the areas too when you play against a good team like them. You don't want to give their power play too many chances." -- Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne

 

"It's a tough loss but we played well. We can definitely build on a lot of things tonight and just bring that tomorrow. We were skating well and moving the puck, being creative offensively with speed. Couldn't really ask for more. I guess we just needed some puck luck around the net. But we did a lot of good things." -- Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford

 

Need to know

Rinne improved to 18-16-5 against the Blackhawks in his NHL career. … Patrick Sharp led Chicago with six shots on goal and was tied with Toews and Patrick Kane with eight shot attempts. … Kane's six-game point streak ended. … Subban had his eighth assist, which leads the Predators. … The Blackhawks went 0-for-6 on the power play. Nashville went 1-for-6. … Crawford made 28 saves.

 

What's next

Predators: Host the New York Islanders on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; MSG+2, FS-TN, NHL.TV)

Blackhawks: At the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, ALT, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Rinne backstops Preds to 2-1 win against Blackhawks

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