Nashville shows off depth, crushes Blackhawks

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The Nashville Predators don’t have big name forwards like the Chicago Blackhawks do, but the Predators certainly have no problem scoring goals. Six different Nashville players found the back of the net on Sunday to lead them to a 6-1 win against Chicago.

Nashville took the lead at 6:16 of the first period on the strength of a Matt Halischuk goal and never looked back. Trade deadline addition Andrei Kostitsyn ended up with the game-winning goal. Alexander Radulov got an assist to give him a point in all three of his games since he returned to the NHL.

This was a rough start for Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford, who seemed to have finally turned a corner lately. Crawford allowed just five goals in his previous four starts coming into this contest, but he was yanked after surrendering four goals in 41:47 minutes.

At the other end of the ice, Pekka Rinne turned aside 24 shots. This is Rinne’s 41st victory of the season and it maintains his tie for the NHL lead with Marc-Andre Fleury, who also won Sunday.

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This victory allowed Nashville to leapfrog over the Detroit Red Wings and claim the fourth seed in the Western Conference. However, Detroit has played in one less game and they are scheduled to take on the last place Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday. Meanwhile, Nashville will need to compete against the top seed St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

Chicago’s chances of finishing the season with anything better than the sixth seed significantly diminished on Sunday. Nothing is set in stone, but the Blackhawks have their work cut out for them with games against New Jersey, St. Louis, and Nashville next week. Chicago will have to compete in all of those contests without Duncan Keith, who is serving a five-game suspension for elbowing Daniel Sedin in the head.