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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Patrick Kane extended his franchise-record points streak to 24 games. The Nashville Predators also got what they wanted most: a very big win over their Central Division rivals.
James Neal, Craig Smith and Filip Forsberg each scored in the first period and the Predators beat the Blackhawks 5-1 after losing 4-1 in Chicago on Tuesday night.
"Nobody felt good about it, and I think that showed tonight by the way we took the ice," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said.
The Predators weren't very happy either with how Kane extended his points streak, scoring his 18th goal this season at 5:43 of the third. He'll have a chance Friday night against Winnipeg back in Chicago to match Sidney Crosby's 25-game streak, set in 2010-11, for the longest since Mario Lemieux's 28-game streak in 1995.
Nashville goalie Pekka Rinne thought he had covered the puck with his glove when Chicago center Marcus Kruger came in and knocked it away. Kane had the easy tap-in from the side, and Rinne skated out near the blue line to argue his case with the officials. Rinne hadn't seen the replay after the game and didn't want to comment.
"I guess it was loose, but for sure he didn't make contact with the puck," Rinne said. "He pushed me and tried to push me in the net. Obviously, I didn't agree with the call."
The Predators lost their challenge for goaltender interference.
Neal sealed the victory with his second goal unassisted at 14:55, and Eric Nystrom scored a short-handed empty netter with 1:14 left.
Rinne made 35 saves to improve to 12-7-5. The Predators evened the season series at 1-1.
Kruger and Duncan Keith had the assists on Kane's goal.
"It is a silver lining, and it is great for him," Blackhawks goalie Scott Darling said of Kane's streak. "He is playing great, like he always does. So it is good for him."
Kane extended his streak Tuesday night with an empty netter. The Predators looked as if they had been stewing over that loss since leaving the United Center, and they opened with possibly their best period this season in grabbing a 3-0 lead.
"They blitzed us right off the bat, and we didn't have a response to it," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
They took the first 10 shots before Dennis Rasmussen finally had a wraparound chance on Rinne at 5:42 of the first. Neal scored on Nashville's 11th shot with a snap shot past Darling after dodging Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson at 6:54 for his 11th this season.
They then scored twice in 37 seconds with Smith beating Darling on a backhander from Viktor Arvidsson that trickled over the line with 4:04 left. Kruger then hooked Cody Hodgson, giving Nashville the man advantage, and Forsberg scored his sixth on a power-play wrister with 3:27 remaining.
The Predators even killed three penalties, a category in which they rank 28th in the NHL.
Chicago had several chances in the second, outshooting the Predators 13-8 in the period. Nashville defenseman Mattias Ekholm fell trying to corral the puck behind the net, and Rinne made the save. Rinne also stopped Andrew Shaw right in front at 5:48.
Rinne stopped three shots by Kane through the first 40 minutes. Rinne also came up with a big stop on a one-timer by Artemi Panarin from the slot off a pass by Kane 90 seconds into the third.
"I'm really happy with how we stuck with it at the end there and we had to defend, and defend really well," Rinne said. "A big win."
Notes: Kane now has 15 goals and 23 assists in his points streak. ... Nashville has scored six power-play goals over the past four games. ... Neal has seven goals in his past five games against Chicago, and Mike Ribeiro has an assist in seven of his last nine against the Blackhawks.
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