By Kelsie Plesac
With their 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators at the United Center on Sunday night, the Chicago Blackhawks were the first team to punch their ticket to the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blackhawks took on the Predators for the third time in a span of seven days. The Blackhawks also maintained their perfect record against the Predators on the season, advancing to 4-0-0.
The Blackhawks drew first blood with an Andrew Shaw goal, his 8th of the season, at 6:34 in the first period. The goal was assisted by Michael Frolik and Niklas Hjalmarsson. However, Nashville forward Nick Spaling would tally a goal at 17:16 to tie the score before first intermission. Sergei Kostitsyn was credited with the assist.
The Blackhawks took the lead again in the second period with Bryan Bickell registering his 9th goal of the season at 2:09. Viktor Stalberg and Michal Rozsival were credited with assists. The lead was short-lived though with Shea Weber tallying his 9th goal of the season at 5:54. The goal was assisted by Spaling.
The Predators took the lead from the Blackhawks at 6:54 in the third period with a David Legwand goal, his 11th of the season. Assists went to Matt Halischuk and Weber. But at 9:37 Brandon Saad evened the score with his 9th goal of the season, assisted by Duncan Keith and captain Jonathan Toews. A mere 55 seconds later the Blackhawks captain would register a goal of his own, giving him 19 goals on the season and giving his team the lead. The goal was assisted by Duncan Keith and Shaw. Patrick Kane would put the game away with an empty net goal, his 20th of the season, at 19:29.
The win gives the Blackhawks a 29-5-4 record, while the Predators fall to 15-17-8. The Blackhawks will hit the road for a matchup against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Patrick Sharp is a hopeful to travel with the team.