CHICAGO - The Nashville Predators did their homework on Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet and it paid off in the shootout.
Rich Peverley and J.P. Dumont beat Huet with shots between his pads to lift the Predators to a 3-2 victory over the Blackhawks on Monday night. "We know Cristobal is the kind of goalie who is not going to come out that high and he's going to play the shot," Dumont said. "We both faked the shot to open him up, and he opened the five-hole big enough for us to shoot."
Nashville coach Barry Trotz said selecting Peverley and Dumont to lead off the shootout was not a coincidence, either.
"Rich was very good in the American League (in the shootout) and he was pencilled in from the get-go," Trotz said. "We do a pretty good job of pre-scouting all the goaltenders and the way they play the shootout. We saw some tendencies we thought we could exploit."
Shea Weber and Kevin Klein scored in regulation and Dan Ellis stopped 23 shots as the Predators spoiled the Blackhawks' home opener. Ellis stopped Patrick Kane and Martin Havlat in the shootout to secure the win.
Havlat and Patrick Sharp each had a goal and an assist in regulation for Chicago, which earned a point after opening with 4-2 road losses against the New York Rangers and Washington.
"I thought it was a much better performance," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. "They worked and battled better than they had."
Huet made 25 saves in his first regular-season home start for the Blackhawks after signing a four-year, US$22.45 million free-agent contract with Chicago on July 1.
Ellis, who has started all three of the Predators games so far, was especially sharp in the first period, blocking several point-blank attempts by Chicago. He stopped Chicago captain Jonathan Toews twice from close-in early in the first.
"It something I have to work on, making sure I'm finishing my chances," Toews said. "I could have made the difference."
Havlat opened the scoring 6:14 in during a 5-on-3 power play. Standing at the left edge of the crease, he redirected Kane's cross-ice feed past Ellis.
Weber tied it 1-1 with a power-play goal midway though the first. He beat Huet on a screened shot from the left point.
Klein gave the Predators a 2-1 lead with 7:11 left in the first on breakaway goal set up by Kane's errant pass.
After serving a slashing call, Klein stepped out of the penalty box and corralled Kane's pass that originated in the Nashville zone. Kane was trying to make a pass to the point.
Instead, the puck landed on Klein's stick, enabling him to skate in alone and beat Huet with a high shot.
Sharp tied it 2-2 just 29 seconds into the second by hacking in a loose rebound.
"This seemed like a game we were destined to win," Kane said. "We're not going to win many games scoring two goals unless the goaltender stands on his head. We've got to start scoring goals, simple as that."
Following a scoreless third, Chicago's Brent Seabrook fired high on a chance from the slot early in overtime.
Notes: Nashville C Jason Arnott jammed his hand in the second period and didn't return. He's out day-to-day.... The game drew a sellout crowd of 21,712. ... The Blackhawks say they have boosted season ticket sales from 3,400 last year to nearly 14,000 this season, a franchise record. ... Chicago D Niklas Hjalmarsson missed his second game with bruised ribs. The Blackhawks recalled D Aaron Johnson from Rockford of the AHL on Monday to take his place. ... Nashville C Nick Tarnaksy missed his third game and is out day-to-day with a thumb injury.