By Brad Gardner
The Blackhawks saw their seven-game point streak snapped after a sluggish game in Nashville against the division rival Predators. Despite two goals from Marian Hossa, a flurry of goals from the home team in the middle period turned out to be the difference in Chicago’s first regulation loss since January 6th.
The opening period was characterized by chippy play from both sides. Nashville out-chanced the visitors, but Marian Hossa managed to put the ‘Hawks on the board first on the team’s second shot of the period. Andrew Shaw dropped a short pass to Hossa at center ice, who gained the zone with enough speed to beat Shea Weber to the outside. He protected the puck as he crossed over and beat Rinne inside the right post for his 19th goal of the season.
Craig Smith drew the Preds even just over two minutes later with a power play goal. Rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis had an open lane from the blue line and Smith provided both the traffic in front of Blackhawks’ starter Corey Crawford and the finish on the rebound to make it a 1-1 game going into the first intermission.