NHL Game Summary - Nashville at Chicago
(Friday, April 3rd)
Final Score: Chicago 3, Nashville 1
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Martin Havlat registered a goal and a helper, as Chicago clipped Nashville, 3-1, at United Center.
Samuel Pahlsson and Jonathan Toews tallied for the Blackhawks, who vaulted into fourth place in the Western Conference with 95 points, one ahead of the Canucks and Flames, who are tied for the Northwest Division lead.
In addition, Chicago locked up a playoff berth, guaranteeing the once struggling Original Six franchise its first trip to the postseason since 2001-02.
Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 25 shots for the win.
"Everyone in this building knew what this meant. We wanted to get this done today and not wait," Toews admitted. "It was a nice feeling. We know what we're capable of as a team, but we need to be consistent if we want to be successful in the playoffs."
Cal O'Reilly provided the lone offense for the Predators, who dropped their second straight game and failed to supplant the idle Blues for the eighth playoff spot in the West. Nashville remained at 84 points, one less than St. Louis.
Pekka Rinne allowed two goals on 31 shots in defeat.
Pahlsson got the Hawks on the board with 5:22 played in the first period, then O'Reilly followed up a Joel Ward rebound to knot the game at 10:47.
Toews received a slick pass from Havlat and buried a shot for a 2-1 Chicago lead with 7:34 to play in the second, and Havlat secured the victory with an empty-netter 1:13 before the end of the contest.
"At this time of the year, we play solid defense," Rinne said. "We knew it was going to be tight, but it was very disappointed."
The Preds have won three of the five meetings this season, but the Hawks have taken seven of the last 11 matchups...The teams meet one final time, in Nashville, on April 7.
04/03 23:44:35 ET