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Nashville Predators 4, Chicago Blackhawks 2: Josi sets record in strong team win

The Preds did what they needed to do tonight.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Nashville Predators traveled north into the approaching winter weather to take on the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Preds got off to a strong start, peppering Hawks goalie Petr Mrázek with chances early. Although the initial push didn’t yield results, Nino Niederreiter scored about halfway through the period to halt the Chicago pushback. Right after that, Tanner Jeannot was called for a double minor for high-sticking Jake McCabe.

While the Preds were able to kill the penalties off, they weren’t able to build much momentum from there. The game seesawed back and forth before heading to intermission.

The second period continued as a back-and-forth affair. Roman Josi took a holding penalty early, but the Predators once again were able to kill it off. Unfortunately, as the period went on play opened up and the Blackhawks were able to take advantage, especially after a failed Trenin breakaway.

In a span of just over thirty seconds, Connor Murphy and MacKenzie Entwhistle both scored off deflections to take Chicago from trailing 0-1 to leading 2-1. The Preds pushed back hard, and with just a few seconds left in the period Mattias Ekholm made a great effort to keep possession, then set Matt Duchene up to tie the game 2-2 with five seconds remaining.

The Preds came out strong to start the third, and after a few missed chances that felt like they’d come back to bite the team Josi scored to give the Preds the 3-2 lead, tying David Legwand for career points with Nashville in the process. The Preds continued to attack, with Trenin almost managing to score another, but Mrázek stayed sharp.

At the other end, Saros had to make a couple of fantastic saves of his own, as the game began to open up again. Another Chicago chance left an out-of-position Saros making a frantic save lying on his back, only half in the paint, as players from both teams swarmed the net. It wasn’t looking good for the Preds’ discipline and focus.

They got a much-needed breather when Max Domi decided to take a penalty. A faceoff win by Ryan Johansen and a well-executed play set Milwaukee Admirals callup Tommy Novak up for a goal, with Josi picking up an assist to pass Legwand’s record. The Preds built off of that, but were interrupted by a questionable penalty call that sent Cody Glass to the box.

The game was then livened up considerably as Mrázek tripped Niederreiter—coming in on a breakaway—at the top of the circles. You don’t see that every day. The Preds kept possession but were unable to score on their power play. Still, it was good enough, with Saros able to hold on for the final push despite some missed opportunities at the empty net from his teammates.