Blackhawks wrap up 2014 with roller-coaster game vs Preds

As the Blackhawks played their final game of 2014 - and their last game before the Winter Classic - it was a roller coaster game against the Nashville Predators.

First came the deep plunge of going down 3-0 in the first half of the game. Roman Josi opened up Nashville's scoring on an even-handed goal at 11:50. Craig Smith would stretch out the lead to 2-0 at 17:12. Finally, ten minutes of play later, James Neal would score his first of the night to make it 3-0.

But the Blackhawks weren't about to lay down and take it. Brad Richards scored a few minutes later to get the Blackhawks on the board, 3-1. Andrew Shaw would have his first goal in several games to make it 3-2; veteran Patrick Sharp got his 500th career point on an assist to Shaw's goal. Sharp also played in his 700th career game tonight.

Marian Hossa tied up the game for the Blackhawks 3-3 with the first power play goal of the night with 2:17 remaining in the second.

However, the Preds would grab the lead back with their own power play goal - Neal's second goal of the game - just six seconds into a "too many men" penalty for Chicago.

But the game wasn't over quite yet! Corey Crawford was pulled from the net, and Pekka Rinne gave up a rebound that Bryan Bickell put in to make it a tie game with 1:13 remaining.

A game this entertaining couldn't possibly be decided in overtime, so it came down to a shootout. Jonathan Toews, leading off for the Blackhawks, was the only player to score in the SO; but that's all Chicago would need to win the game, 5-4.

THREE STARS
1. Bryan Bickell (CHI)
2. James Neal (NSH)
3. Duncan Keith (CHI)

When we next see the Blackhawks, they'll be playing in the 2015 Winter Classic versus the Washington Capitals. That game airs Thursday, New Year's Day, at noon CT / 1pm ET on NBC, CBC, and TVA.