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Blackhawks beat Predators in overtime; win streak at seven

Marian Hoss(left) Jonathan Toews celebrate ­after Hossa’s power-play goal overtime Friday. |  Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

Marian Hossa (left) and Jonathan Toews celebrate ­after Hossa’s power-play goal in overtime Friday. | Scott Stewart~Sun-Times

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BLACKHAWKS 5,
PREDATORS 4

Nashville 2 1 1 0—4

Blackhawks 2 1 1 1—5

First Period—1, HAWKS, Keith 3 (Stalberg, Toews), 4:48 (pp). 2, Nashville, Halischuk 3 (Klein, Bartley), 6:31. 3, Nashville, Henderson 1 (Mueller, Butler), 10:42. 4, HAWKS, Saad 10 (Toews, Keith), 13:36. Penalties—Weber, Nas (hooking), 3:33; Seabrook, HAWKS (interference), 17:43.

Second Period—5, HAWKS, Kane 21 (Bickell), 9:20. 6, Nashville, Halischuk 4 (Bartley), 12:31. Penalties—Kane, HAWKS (delay of game), 1:33.

Third Period—7, HAWKS, Handzus 2, 10:07. 8, Nashville, Butler 4 (Halischuk, Weber), 16:26. Penalties—Stalberg, HAWKS (interference), 13:04; Clune, Nas, double minor (high-sticking), 19:15.

Overtime—9, HAWKS, Hossa 17 (Kane, Keith), :52 (pp). Penalties—None.

Shots on Goal—Nashville 8-9-10-0—27. HAWKS 15-12-2-1—30.

Power-play opportunities—Nashville 0 of 3; HAWKS 2 of 3.

Goalies—Nashville, Rinne 14-16-8 (30 shots-25 saves). HAWKS, Crawford 18-4-4 (27-23).

Referees—Kelly Sutherland, Steve Kozari. Linesmen—Lonnie Cameron, Scott Driscoll.

A—22,014 (19,717). T—2:26.

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Updated: May 21, 2013 6:33AM



Marian Hossa said he had a good feeling about the Blackhawks’ beleaguered power play after Thursday’s practice. Now, after the Hawks scored two power-play goals in a 5-4 overtime victory over the Nashville Predators — including Hossa’s game-winner 52 seconds into the extra session — he hopes the floodgates have opened.

“We know we have to move the puck better and quicker, and I think that changed [Friday night], obviously,” he said. “Two goals, that definitely helps the confidence on the power play.”

The power-play goals snapped an 0-for-19 streak with the man advantage, which ran concurrently with the Hawks’ 9-0-1 run (including seven straight victories).

“Sometimes, just a little bit of change can help,” said Duncan Keith, who had the other power-play goal to open the scoring in the first period as well as two assists. “We did a little bit of work [Thursday], but the key is just using our skill and our talent and not thinking too much about it — just going out there and knowing we have one extra guy out there and make plays.”

It was a happy ending to a sloppy, sleepy game. There was none of that playofflike intensity that has marked so many Hawks games this season. Hardly any tension, and even less drama.

Of course, this was the Hawks’ first relatively insignificant game of the season — the Presidents’ Trophy is the last milestone they have to play for, and the Predators have been eliminated.

“Maybe our pace, our speed, wasn’t quite there at times, but we still made some smart plays and found a way to come out with the two points,” said Jonathan Toews, who had two assists. “So we’ll be happy with that. We got another one [Saturday night against Phoenix], so hopefully we’ll be better.”

It was a surprising offensive shootout, but that was due largely to some indifferent defense. Besides Keith and Hossa, Patrick Kane, Brandon Saad and Michal Handzus scored for the Hawks. The Predators got two goals from Matt Halischuk as well as goals from Kevin Henderson and Bobby Butler, the last with 3:34 left in regulation.

But in the end, Hossa and the Hawks took advantage of Rich Clune’s double-minor for high-sticking in the last minute of regulation — a welcome conclusion to a largely indifferent game.

The Hawks want to maintain their intensity and their edge through this six-games-in-nine-nights closing stretch. But as Friday’s game showed, it won’t be easy.

“It was a little sloppy on our part,” Keith said. “I think we can be better in certain areas, and we know that. At the same time, we’re happy that our power play got us a couple of goals there and we were able to win the game on it.”



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