Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 23 games, Dennis Rasmussen scored his first NHL goal and Corey Crawford stepped up between the pipes to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-1 win over the Predators on Tuesday night. Chicago is now third in the Central Division with 34 points after leapfrogging both Nashville and Minnesota in the standings with the victory.
Kane, who already entered Tuesday with the Hawks' franchise record for most consecutive games with a point, pushed his incredible run by scoring the empty netter in the third period to put the game away. It's the second straight contest in which the star forward has capitalized on an empty net opportunity to keep his historic streak alive after assisting on an Artemi Panarin ENG last time out.
The goal also marked Kane's 600th career point, which took him eight-plus seasons and 603 games to reach. Kane's latest feats weren't the only highlights from a big win, either.
Rasmussen, who was called up Monday to take over for Tanner Kero as the third-line center, quickly made his impact in his Hawks debut with a first-period goal. The 25-year-old deflected a shot off the stick of Andrew Shaw past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne to get on the scoresheet and give the Hawks a 1-0 advantage.
In the second period, Shaw followed up by scoring a goal of his own to continue Nashville's penalty-killing struggles. After the Predators scored just before the intermission to cut the lead in half, Teuvo Teravainen opened the third period by placing an incredible no-look shot past Rinne to get the advantage back to two.
After that, it was all about defense and goaltending. Crawford was absolutely fantastic in this one, often looking like a man on a mission after his brutal failures against this same Nashville team in the 2015 postseason. You have to imagine those memories were still fresh on Crawford's mind entering Tuesday, even for a player who's well-known for his ability to quickly move on from past mistakes. In this game, the Hawks' goaltender reminded the Preds that he's far better than the last time they met with 34 saves in 35 chances.
The strong defense set up a last-minute scramble by Nashville to trim the lead with an empty net, which put Kane in position to fire the neutral zone shot that extended his point streak. On a night where the Hawks were outshot, 37-24, and often were clawing from their heels, some deft counter-attacks and quality goaltending proved the difference.
Chicago now sits at 15-9-4 this season following the win. Nashville drops to 14-9-5 in a tight divisional race.