NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP)Tanner Jeannot scored twice, Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen each scored once and added an assist to lead the Nashville Predators to a 6-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday.
Nick Cousins and Roman Josi also scored, Mattias Ekholm had three assists and Juuse Saros made 37 saves for Nashville, which snapped a two-game losing streak.
”Tonight, we were fortunate where we didn’t necessarily play the game we want to play to give ourselves a ton of success,” Predators coach John Hynes said. ”But we were able to score at the right times and sometimes that’s how the game goes.”
Philipp Kurashev had the lone goal for Chicago, which has lost three straight. The Blackhawks played their first game since Dec. 18.
Forsberg scored the game’s first goal 1:02 in off of a pass from Matt Duchene. The goal was Forsberg’s 15th of the season. Duchene and Yakov Trenin both had two assists.
Johansen doubled the Nashville lead after Forsberg sent a pass to him in front from the left boards.
Nashville scored goals in the final minute of the first and opening minute of the second periods, with Cousins connecting on a power play, then Jeannot scoring at 28 seconds of the second.
Jeannot’s goal came against Arvid Soderblom, who replaced goalie Collin Delia to start the middle frame.
”That’s obviously the way you want to start the period,” Jeannot said. ”We had kind of a mindset to get on them quick and start setting the pace, setting the tone with our style of hockey. So, good starts.”
Making his NHL debut, Soderblom allowed the goal on the first shot he faced. Delia finished with four saves on seven shots in taking the loss. Soderblom made 15 saves.
”It was fun to play,” Soderblom said. ”I’ve dreamed about playing in the NHL (since) I was a kid. It was fun but a tough game.”
Nashville scored again on the power play at 5:34 of the second on Josi’s shot.
Kurashev got Chicago on the board at 17:25 of the second and Jeannot scored his second of the game 53 seconds into the third.
BACK ON THE ICE
Despite playing their first game in two weeks, the Blackhawks had some quality chances, especially in the first period where they outshot the Predators 15-7.
Midway through the first and with Chicago on a power play, Saros slid from the left post to the right to deny Alex DeBrincat. Nashville held a 2-0 lead at the time.
”I didn’t think we played a really bad game,” Chicago interim coach Derek King said. ”I liked our start. We had opportunities, we just couldn’t bury them. They had opportunities and they scored.”
NEW STICK, GREAT RESULTS
Early in his first shift of the game, Forsberg’s stick broke and he headed to the Nashville bench to get a new one. After eschewing at least one of the replacements offered with play still ongoing, Forsberg found one to his liking, then calmly skated with the play before scoring his goal.
Just under five minutes later, Forsberg found Johansen with a nifty pass for Nashville’s second goal of the game.
COVID RETURNS, DEPARTURES
Josi and Colton Sissons returned to the Predators after both missed Nashville’s first two games following the holiday break while placed in COVID-19 protocol. Nashville defenseman Dante Fabbro entered COVID-19 protocol and did not play Saturday.
Blackhawks: host Calgary on Sunday.
Predators: travel to Las Vegas on Tuesday to begin a three-game road trip.
More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports