Blackhawks beat Habs; head to Nashville for Saturday night

The Blackhawks continued their solid run with an exciting beat-the-buzzer win over the Montréal Canadiens.

Michal Rozsival opened the scoring early, just 2:13 into the game, and the Blackhawks nearly closed out the period 2-0 after a Ben Smith goal. Canadien Brendan Gallagher scored with 1:18 left in the first to make it 2-1.

Sergei Gonchar would tie up the game 2-2 several minutes into the second, and P.K. Subban would have a PPG (Patrick Kane, tripping) to give the Habs the lead.

Jonathan Toews responded with a PPG of his own just 13 seconds into P.K. Subban's hooking penalty, and 4:18 into the third. Although both teams got some good looks at the other's net, it looked like the game was going to go into overtime - and then Brandon Saad happened, scoring just 27 seconds before the final buzzer to give the Blackhawks the 4-3 lead and the win.

Play was fairly even, although the Canadiens were one of the rare teams to collect over 40 SOG versus the Blackhawks this season, going 41-36 SOG.

THREE STARS
1. Brandon Saad (CHI)
2. Jonathan Toews (CHI)
3. Sergei Gonchar (MTL)

The Nashville Predators (17-6-2) will welcome Chicago (17-8-1)  to town on Saturday night. So far, the Hawks have an overtime win and a regulation loss against the Preds this season.

These two teams enter tonight's game as #1 (NSH) and #2 (CHI) in the hotly contested Central division. Nashville has been playing extremely well under the guidance of their new head coach Peter Laviolette, and it shows in their improved stats. They're tied for with Chicago for GA/G (2.00), they're 7th for SOG/G (31.0, vs Chicago's 36.0). Their defensive SA/G is 27.6 (6th), slightly better than Chicago's 28.5 (10th). However, they rank towards the bottom of the league on both on the PP (27th) and PK (20th).

Although the Preds are able to roll four lines far better than they have in the past, their starting goaltender Pekka Rinne has been a large part of their success as usual, with a .931 sv% and just 1.88 GAA. Rookie Filip Forsberg is a solid contender for this year's Calder, having 11G, 14A to lead his team in scoring.

As a Central division game, these are 2 important points for both teams. Since Raanta played last night, it's possible that Coach Quenneville will put Scott Darling in net for the Blackhawks; Rinne is expected to be in net for the Preds.

Where to watch: 6pm CST, CSN-Chicago, Fox Sports TN, FX-CA ; Radio: WGN 720 Chicago