CHICAGO – Pekka Rinne made 29 saves and scored an empty-net goal, and the Nashville Predators beat the Blackhawks, 5-2, on Thursday night for John Hynes’ first win with the team.
Hynes became the third coach in franchise history after Peter Laviolette was fired Monday. Hynes dropped his debut when Nashville lost, 6-2, to Boston on Tuesday night, but the Predators held off the Hawks in the final part of the third after nearly blowing a three-goal lead.
Matt Duchene, Viktor Arvidsson and Colin Blackwell also scored for Nashville, which had dropped five of six. Nick Bonino also picked up an empty-net goal before Rinne’s shot from behind the Predators’ net went in with 22 seconds left.
Dominik Kubalik scored for the third straight game, but the Hawks dropped to 1-2 on their four-game homestand. Alex DeBrincat added a power-play goal in the third period, and Corey Crawford finished with 25 saves.
After DeBrincat’s slick backhand trimmed Nashville’s lead to 3-2, the Hawks pushed hard for the tying goal. But Rinne helped the Predators kill off a power play before Bonino put it away with his 14th goal.
Nashville skated circles around the Hawks at the start of the game, and the Hawks made several mistakes that led to quality opportunities for the Predators.
All-Star defenseman Roman Josi danced around Hawks’ defenseman Adam Boqvist before trying a backhand that went off Arvidsson on its way to the net. Arvidsson was awarded his 10th goal at 3:16, and Josi extended his point streak to 12 games.
Blackwell then made it 2-0 with his first career goal in his 17th game. Yakov Trenin took the puck away from the 19-year-old Boqvist before passing to Blackwell for the wide-open opportunity in the low right circle.
Blackwell entered the lineup in place of Austin Watson, who was a healthy scratch.
Another Blackhawks turnover led to the Predators’ third goal. Duchene slipped behind Chicago defenseman Slater Koekkoek, got a pass from Mattias Ekholm and beat Crawford for his 10th at 16:55.
Duchene, who turns 29 next week, has two goals and four assists in his last four games.
NOTES: Blackhawks C Dylan Strome was scratched after he hurt his right ankle during Tuesday night’s 2-1 loss to Calgary. He is day to day. ... Predators F Kyle Turris played in his 700th NHL game. ... Blackhawks G Robin Lehner was active for the first time since he injured his right knee Jan. 2 at Vancouver. ... Blackhawks F Drake Caggiula played for the first time since Nov. 10. He had been sidelined by a concussion.
Predators: Visit the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday.
Blackhawks: Host the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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