Viktor Arvidsson scored twice, but the Chicago Blackhawks won it late to defeat the Nashville Predators, 5-3, on Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena. The game concluded the season series between the two and keeps Nashville at 73 points overall.
The Predators registered 35 shots in total on Corey Crawford, creating numerous chances throughout the evening. Both clubs went back and forth, but Chicago capitalized on a late opportunity, ultimately sealing the win.
"I thought our guys played extremely hard," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "Our guys were ready to play, but [Chicago] is a class team that is able to turn their game around if it doesn't start the way they want. They have the potential to take a start like that and turn it into a game where they're competing and playing at a high level, and they did that. From there, we knew it was going to be a tough fight the whole game, but it went back and forth. I thought our guys were ready to play, and we just hate the outcome."
"We have to find a way to get a point out of that game," Preds defenseman P.K. Subban said. "I think we played a really good game, but the details, we have to make sure in those moments of the game we are bearing down and understand the importance of it. You know good teams find a way to win, and they're a good team and they capitalized on some of our mistakes tonight."
Chicago had a 2-0 lead midway through the second period, courtesy of a goal in the first by Patrick Kane and then a tally from Jordin Tootoo at 11:03 of the middle frame, but Nashville made it interesting when Viktor Arvidsson got the Preds on the board less than two minutes after. With less than a minute to play in the second, Jonathan Toews made it 3-1 Chicago, but Nashville answered again, this time just 14 seconds later, when Calle Jarnkrok picked a corner on Corey Crawford to bring the Preds back to within one before the stanza was out.
Video: CHI@NSH: Arvidsson nets his second from a sharp angle
Then it was Arvidsson again, scoring on one of the more improbable angles near the goal line, and somehow finding room over the shoulder of Crawford to even the score at 3-3. The Preds had their chances down the stretch to add a fourth, but it was Brian Campbell who potted the winner with 1:05 to play in regulation time before Kane added an empty-netter to seal the win.
"[The chances at the end of the game] were tilted pretty good in our favor," Laviolette said. "Those chances, we need to capitalize on. They made a nice play at the end of the game, and they scored a goal and won a hockey game… They're going to make plays. We could have executed better."
Video: Laviolette looks back on a tough loss to stomach
Saturday marked the second consecutive game that the Preds have seen their opponent score the winning goal late in regulation, something Nashville certainly doesn't plan on making a habit.
"There's a minute left and your mindset on the ice has got to be to protect your D-zone, and if a bounce happens and we get a break, then we have to try and create something," Subban said. "We can't create something from nothing, and I'm not saying that's what we're trying to do. I think in those moments that's the way you have to approach it… In those moments, we have to pay more attention to detail and whoever's on the ice we have to make sure we get the job done."
Video: NSH Recap: Arvidsson scores two goals in 5-3 defeat
Defenseman Ryan Ellis missed Saturday's game with a lower-body injury. Defenseman Anthony Bitetto took his place in the lineup, logging four hits and two blocked shots in 11:22 of ice time.
Viktor Arvidsson recorded his fourth multi-goal game of the season on Saturday. He is tied for ninth in the Western Conference in goals (23).
Ryan Johansen has six assists in three home games against the Blackhawks this season.
The Predators head right back out on the road - California to be exact - beginning a three-game slate on the West Coast on Tuesday night in Anaheim.