CHICAGO (AP) — Alex DeBrincat scored in the third period and overtime to rally the Chicago Blackhawks past the Nashville Predators 2-1 on Friday night.
DeBrincat skated in alone from center ice, then snapped off a shot with 57.8 seconds left in the extra period that beat Pekka Rinne high on the glove side for his 16th goal.
DeBrincat tied the game at 1-1 with a power-play goal midway through the third period. His goal came on a deflection and snapped Chicago’s 0-for-21 drought with the man advantage.
Mattias Ekholm scored in the second period for Nashville.
Corey Crawford finished with 42 saves in an up-tempo goaltenders’ duel between Central Division rivals. Rinne blocked 36 shots, including Brandon Saad’s first-period penalty shot.
Fading Chicago won for the second time in nine games (2-5-2). Nashville closed within two points of the second Western Conference wild-card spot.
Duncan Keith earned his 600th career assist on DeBrincat’s first goal.
Nashville defenseman Ryan Ellis returned after missing 20 games with a concussion. Ellis had been sidelined since the Stars’ Corey Perry elbowed him in the head on New Year’s Day at the NHL’s Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Perry got a five-game suspension for the hit.
The Blackhawks canceled their practice on Thursday to “reset” following a crushing 6-3 home loss to the New York Rangers on Wednesday night when they allowed five goals in the third period.
Chicago responded by taking the first eight shots of the game against Nashville, but ended up outshooting the Predators just 12-10 in a scoreless first period.
Rinne stopped Saad on a penalty shot midway through the first, making a left pad save. Saad was awarded the chance after he was hooked from behind by Filip Forsberg on a short-handed breakaway.
The Predators outshot Chicago 20-9 in the second period.
After Crawford denied Nashville several times from close range, Ekholm finally connected with 5:04 left in the period on Nashville’s 26th shot — and the 45th overall in the game.
Trailing in late on a rush, Ekholm took Rocco Grimaldi’s pass from the right circle, fired from the slot and beat Crawford with a fluttering shot on the stick side that slipped just inside the left post.
Crawford stayed sharp as Chicago killed a 73-second, 5-on-3 Nashville power play in the late in the period.
Rinne made sensational diving saves on Patrick Kane and DeBrincat during an extended Chicago power play early in the third that included a 31-second 5-on-3 advantage.
DeBrincat tied it on a midair deflection of Kane’s shot at 9:05 of the third. Kane’s drive from the left side bounced in off DeBrincat’s glove.
Drake Caggiula narrowly missed on a goalmouth deflection with 18 seconds left.
NOTES: Saad is 0 for 3 on penalty shots for his career. … Nashville F Nick Bonino sat out with an illness. … Blackhawks D Erik Gustafsson was a healthy scratch for the second time this season, stirring rumors ahead of Monday’s NHL trade deadline. … Chicago C Zack Smith missed his fourth game with a left hand injury. … Injured Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen attended. He’s a friend of Rinne, a fellow Finn.
Predators: Host Columbus on Saturday.
Blackhawks: At Dallas on Sunday to open a four-game trip.
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