CHICAGO (AP) – Juuse Saros made 29 saves, Luke Kunin scored for the third straight game, and the Nashville3-1 on Friday night.
Ryan Johansen and Erik Haula also scored for the Predators, who improved to 26-21-2 (54 points) and strengthened their grip on fourth place and the finalin the Central Division.
Vinnie Hinostroza scored with 3:19 left in the third period to spoil Saros’ shutout bid.
Nashville finished itswith Chicago at 7-0-1. The Predators rebounded with a tidy effort after Chicago rallied with three goals in the on Wednesday.
Malcolm Subban stopped 25 shots in hisstart but gave up two soft goals. The loss left Chicago in sixth place in the Central with 49 points (22-21-5), five behind Nashville with eight games remaining.
Saros was sharp throughout, especially in the scoreless first left pad save on Johansen with about 4 minutes left after Johansen took Viktor Arvidsson’s feed on a 2-on-1 break.late in the frame. Subban kept it scoreless with a close-in
Pius Suter actually beat Saros with a shot from the slot about a minute into the second, but the puck clanked off the crossbar, bounced onto the ice, and slid clear.
Johansen. Johansen was battling with Chicago’s Kirby Dach in the crease and knocked in a loose puck after Ryan Ellis whipped it in front from the left-wing.
Kunin gave Nashville a 2-0 lead with 3:36 left in the second on a soft goal. His shot from a sharp angle to the right of the net somehow slipped under Subban’s skate as the Blackhawks goalie hugged the right post. This season, Kunin, who has sevenin eight games against Chicago.
Haula made it 3-0 with 3:55 left in the third when his shot from the right corner slipped in off Subban’s equipment. Moments later, Wyatt Kalynuk flipped an image that barely needed video confirmation.after Hinostroza deflected it. The goal
HE’S NO. 1
Saros made hisstart, 12th in 13 games and 15th in 17, as he has taken the mantle of Nashville’s No. 1 goalie from fellow Finn, 38-year-old Pekka Rinne.
Chicago defenseman Calvin de Haan (hip, day-to-day) sat out, but the Blackhawks played with seven defensemen as slumping center Dylan Strome was scratched for a second straight game. Rookie D-man Nicolas Beaudin, one of Chicago’s top prospects, took de Haan’s spot. Strome had one goal and one assist in his previous eight.
Predators: Host Florida on Monday in the first of a two-game set.
Blackhawks: Host Tampa Bay on Tuesday.
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