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Predators 5, Blackhawks 2: Kleintastic

If they keep this up, the stakes could get higher and higher for the Nashville Predators. Tonight, in front of an energetic Bridgestone Arena, the Preds took advantage of a tired Chicago Blackhawks team and steamrolled their way to a 5-2 victory. The win moves Nashville to within 4 points of Chicago, although the Preds have a game in hand and get another crack at the Blackhawks on Tuesday at the United Center.

Video highlights and post-game reaction from today's win after the jump:

Cue the video:

Post-game audio is available from Barry Trotz, Patric Hornqvist, Pekka Rinne, and Kevin Klein (click each name for the MP3). We also have the radio highlights, and a couple interviews, as well thanks to the crew at 102.5 The Game:

Colin Wilson 2nd Intermission 2012-01-21 (mp3)

Martin Erat post-game 2012-01-21 (mp3)

Predators Blackhawks highlights 2012-01-21 (mp3)

Your random observations:

  • It was a pleasure to meet SamFels and Killion from Second City Hockey before the game, there were a ton of Blackhawks fans in attendance tonight, which helped create a tremendous atmosphere early on.
  • That said, it was funny to hear Martin Erat in the post-game interview talk about the fans cheering during the anthem, and how that helped get the Preds pumped up for the game. Did he know that those were the Chicago fans doing that?
  • Colin Wilson was a dynamo tonight, with a 1st-period rush that should have drawn a tripping call, and several other highlights in the offensive end.
  • Who else was surprised to see Matt Halischuk get the scratch? Show of hands?
  • Kudos to Kevin Klein for earning 1st Star of the Game, the whole D corps stepped up as Francis Bouillon left the game with an injury. We'll have to wait and see whether he'll be able to go on Monday, and/or whether Ryan Suter will return.
  • Brandon Yip looked like a reasonable 4th-line winger in his Preds debut. Post-game, Barry Trotz mentioned that he hasn't played much lately, so we'll have to reserve judgment for a few weeks I guess.
  • It's a late night, so I'm keeping the recap short - but it will be very interesting to see how the Preds follow up this big win. They face the ultimate trap game Monday night at home vs. Columbus, before traveling to Chicago for a rematch with the Blackhawks on Tuesday. Wins in both those games could send Nashville into the All-Star break right up there alongside the Western Conference leaders...

Box Score - Game Summary - Event Summary - Corsi Numbers - Shots On Goal Chart