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Nashville Predators 3, Chicago Blackhawks 2: Human Rocket Ship blasts off

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Ryan Ellis answered the critics tonight. Well, at least the one critic whose opinion matters most, Barry Trotz.

After scratching defenseman Ryan Ellis in the Predators' shootout loss to Boston, Trotz wouldn't say if he would keep Jack Hillen in the lineup over the rookie. But he was critical of Ellis' recent play.

"I thought he had slipped back a little bit - high risk plays when they were very unnecessary, those types of things. We have to play a certain way to be successful," Trotz said.

- Josh Cooper, The Tennessean

Ellis led the way offensively tonight, with a goal and an assist as the Nashville Predators topped Chicago 3-2. Besides opening a 7-point gap over the Blackhawks for 5th place in the Western Conference, this game extends Chicago's plummet to 0-8-1 over their last nine games, which will only increase the pressure on players, coaches, and the front office to do something to turn things around.

Video highlights and post-game reaction from this one follow after the jump:

Cue the video (might take 30-45 minutes post-game to work):

Your random observations:

  • It was odd to see Brandon Yip take over for Patric Hornqvist in front of the net on the first power play unit. Personally, I could see Jordin Tootoo filling that role pretty well. He's used to taking abuse, and can stand his ground with the best of them. Yip ended up with 2:44 of power play time, 2nd among forwards only to Mike Fisher.
  • That opening goal by Ryan Suter was a thing of beauty. It wasn't the hardest shot in the world, but it was delivered quickly, and Ray Emery had no chance to reverse direction to get back and make that save.
  • Giving up a tying score less than a minute later, though? Ugh.
  • What's the old saying about good things happening when you throw the puck at the net? Ryan Ellis fired the shot for Nashville's 2nd and 3rd goals, and each was tipped on the way in to beat Emery. The first was tipped by Nick Spaling, the second by one of the Chicago D. In each case, that redirection makes life miserable for a goaltender.
  • Pekka Rinne had a full mixture of high- and low-lights tonight, as the goals against him looked pretty suspect, but he did make several other sensational saves. Especially in the 3rd period, when Chicago outshot the Preds 11-3, he preserved the win.
  • Craig Smith threw a ton of pucks at the net tonight (6 on goal, 11 total attempts), but stretched his goal-less streak to 7 games. You're due, Honey Badger, keep on firing.

Box Score - Game Summary - Event Summary - Corsi Numbers