Video: Predators ride special teams to 3-2 win in Nashville
October 14, 2016, at Bridgestone Arena: Predators 3, Blackhawks 2
A national audience was treated to the scene in Nashville, Tennessee, as the Predators opened one of their most-anticipated seasons in franchise history.
Trailing twice, the home team used three drives from straight away at the blue line to connect for three power-play goals and a 3-2 victory. P.K. Subban scored on his first shot in Gold, and Roman Josi knotted the contest at two before the end of the first.
"There is so much talent in this locker room," goaltender Pekka Rinne said after the win. "Any given night, there's different guys who can step up and be the guy that night. It was an interesting start, pucks were bouncing and somehow found a way to our net, but we stuck with it. I thought especially the second goal was huge, and then [Mike Fisher] stepped in with the game winner. It was a great win, and we had to work for it until the end. It was a great team win, and what a great way to start a season, and for our fans, too."
At 16:36 of the second, Fisher deflected Josi's drive from the point to give the Preds their first lead of the night and third man-advantage goal of the evening. Nashville hung on from there, with Rinne making 22 saves, including a stop on Vinnie Hinostroza with 2:04 left.
Video: NSH Recap: Preds start slow, fail to mount comeback
October 15, 2016, at United Center: Blackhawks 5, Predators 3
Richard Panik netted the first of two hat tricks by Blackhawks players during the season series when he scored three-straight goals for Chicago. The second half of the home-and-home series that opened the 2016-17 season for Nashville dealt the Preds their first loss, while bestowing the Hawks their first victory (in their third game).
The Predators were left chasing for almost the entire contest after the Hawks opened up a 3-0 lead in the first behind goals from Nick Schmaltz, Brent Seabrook and Panik's first. Colin Wilson and Craig Smith found twine to pull the visitors within a goal before Panik struck again.
"There were a couple of fortunate bounces for them, and it makes the period look worse than it was," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "I thought our guys played hard, out-shot them, out-chanced them and did a lot of good things. We had a big goal at the end of the [first] period but you're sitting on a 3-1 deficit, against a good hockey team, that's hard to come back from."
Viktor Arvidsson's first of the campaign - and first of three on the season against Chicago - pulled Nashville close again at 4-3 with less than 10 minutes remaining, but Patrick Kane found Panik in the crease as the forward tapped in the puck to complete his hat trick with 91 seconds left.
Marek Mazanec took the loss in net for Nashville, making 22 saves. The Preds fired 36 shots on the Hawks net.
Video: NSH Recap: Fisher scores in 3-2 loss to Blackhawks
December 29, 2016, at Bridgestone Arena: Blackhawks 3, Predators 2
Controversy defined a one-goal game between the two clubs in late December when Hawks goalie Corey Crawford drew a tripping minor on Craig Smith late in the third. The veteran netminder glided to the top of the crease before clipping skates with Smith as the winger flew by the opposition net.
From there, Jonathan Toews deflected a puck home on the subsequent power-play to even the contest, 2-2. Four minutes later, and at 14:48 of the final frame, Patrick Kane snapped home the game-winning goal and his 700th career point.
"I won't get into calls, but we just have to find a way to kill that [penalty]," said Mike Fisher, who put Nashville up 2-1 in third with a power-play goal. "Then, they get a break and odd-man rushes. I thought we battled pretty hard; it was a hard game. We had chances, we just have to execute better."
Video: NSH Recap: Offense is neutralized as Preds lose, 5-2
January 8, 2017, at United Center: Blackhawks 5, Predators 2
The second game of the season series at United Center also featured the second hat trick of the five-game set between the two teams.
Without several regulars in the lineup and at the end of a three-game trip, Nashville forward Austin Watson jammed in a loose puck in the crease to tie the contest at 2-2 early in the third period.
"I thought for the most part, our game was pretty good tonight," Preds defenseman Ryan Ellis said. "We deserved better in the third period. I think we hit three or four posts and they get their one chance and they score. That seems to be the way it's going right now."
Ryan Hartman took over in the final nine minutes of regulation, recording a natural hat trick with goals at 11:49, 18:46 and 19:28, and the last two goals being empty-netters.
"Our guys fought hard to tie it up [in the third]," Nashville Head Coach Peter Laviolette said. "At that point, it could've been 3-2, 4-2, 5-2 with the posts we hit, and it wasn't. It didn't drop for us."
"We came back, they scored first, we came back again, but we're fighting right now," Ellis said. "Hard work is probably the only thing that's going to get us out of this. It's frustrating, but we can only look to each other and hopefully get more effort and more consistency and find some success with that."
Video: NSH Recap: Arvidsson scores two goals in 5-3 defeat
March 4, 2017, at Bridgestone Arena: Blackhawks 5, Predators 3
The final meeting of the season series was likely the most exciting - a back-and-forth affair featuring the Predators rallying from a 3-1 deficit before Brian Campbell notched the game-winner with 65 seconds remaining to give the Hawks their seventh consecutive win.
Calle Jarnkrok answered 14 seconds after Jonathan Toews's goal had put Chicago up by two goals, making the contest 3-2 in favor of the Hawks after 40 minutes. Viktor Arvidsson scored his second of the game at 4:13 of the third to knot the score, and the teams traded chances for practically the rest of regulation, until Campbell's late goal on Juuse Saros.
"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."