Blackhawks win team-record 12th straight, downing Predators
Kane, Panarin lead way with 2 points apiece
The Chicago Blackhawks are ready for their next game, with very little time spent celebrating a franchise-record 12th straight win.
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist and the Blackhawks beat the hometown Nashville Predators 4-1 Tuesday night, setting a new mark for a team with three Stanley Cup championships over the past six seasons.
"It's one by one," goalie Corey Crawford said. "It seems like and feels like in this room that right after the game, it's done and on to the next one. That's the kind of atmosphere it's been around here for a little bit now. We're gaining so much momentum and really playing a well-rounded game right now."
Chicago also tied the Florida Panthers' recent streak for the longest in the NHL this season. The Blackhawks have four games left before the all-star break to get closer to the league record of 17 consecutive wins by the 1992-93 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Longest NHL win streaks
- 17 games: Pittsburgh (March 9, 1993 - April 10, 1993
- 15 games: NY Islanders (Jan. 21, 1982 - Feb. 20, 1982
- 14 games: Boston (Dec. 3, 1929 - Jan. 9, 1930)
- 13 games: Boston (Feb. 23, 1971 - March 20, 1971)
- 13 games: Philadelphia (Oct. 19, 1985 - Nov. 17, 1985)
- 13 games: Washington (Jan. 13, 2010 - Feb. 7, 2010)
Kane matched his career high with his 30th goal and has 71 points in 49 games. Rookie forward Richard Panik had a goal and an assist, Artem Anisimov also scored and Artemi Panarin added two assists for Chicago. Andrew Desjardins scored into an empty net.
Crawford made 38 saves for his ninth straight win as the Blackhawks took the season series 3-1 with a game remaining against their Central Division rivals.
"I think we're confident," Kane said. "I think at the same time I think we know we could probably play even better."
Cup final rematch
The Blackhawks will get to test themselves Thursday night at Tampa Bay and then at Florida on Friday night.
Ryan Ellis scored for Nashville, which has lost six of seven.
"Part of the problem tonight was that we shot ourselves in the foot with mistakes that just can't happen," Predators coach Peter Laviolette said.
The Blackhawks tied the team mark Sunday with a 5-2 win over Montreal, matching their 11 straight victories during the 2012-13 season.
Chicago came into Nashville for the first of a three-game road swing with plenty of fans making the trip, and the Blackhawks sent them home happy after their sixth straight road victory.
"It's been a great run," coach Joel Quenneville said.
The Blackhawks scored the first goal for a 10th straight game when Anisimov pushed a backhander past a diving Pekka Rinne with 21.2 seconds left in the first period.
Panik made it 2-0 early in the second with a wrister from the edge of the right circle. Nashville beat Crawford 15 seconds later on a slapshot by Ellis, but Kane took off on a breakaway and beat Rinne with a backhander a minute later for a 3-1 lead.
Rinne, who started after backup Carter Hutton shut out Minnesota on Saturday night, gave up three goals on the first 13 shots he faced. The all-star goalie and three-time Vezina Trophy finalist is 1-5-1 in his past seven starts.
Laviolette defended Rinne and pointed out other mistakes by the Predators.
"A couple of turnovers in the middle of the ice led to pucks coming back the other way," Laviolette said. "You have to take care of the puck and make sure you do the right things."
The Predators couldn't get the puck past Crawford after Ellis' goal. They went 0-for-3 with the man advantage, including two power plays in the third. Craig Smith hit a post in the first, and Crawford saved a shot by Smith in the third off his right toe.