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Blackhawks Scalp Predators

Tony Amonte was pleased to reach 30-goal mark for the fourth straight year.

However, the Chicago Blackhawks' right winger is gunning for a lot more.

"It's a nice number to hit, but I still have my sights set a lot higher," said Amonte, who opened the scoring in the Blackhawks 5-2 victory over the Nashville Predators with his 30th goal of the season. "There's plenty of time left."

Amonte, red hot in the first half of the season, has tailed off recently. Before connecting at 2:03 of the second period Wedensday, he had been held without a goal for seven games.

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  • "You go through these streaks and hope they don't last long," added Amonte, who has scored 30 goals in six of his eight full NHL seasons. "I know I have to score."

    On Wednesday, the Blackhawks needed third-period goals from Josef Marha, Alex Zhamnov and Chad Kilger to snap a 2-2 tie and extend their unbeaten streak to three games (2-0-1) overall and four games (3-0-1) against the first-year Predators.

    Amonte and rookie Jean-Pierre Dumont had scored two minutes apart early in the second period to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. Nashville tied it on goals by Sebastien Bordeleau and Tom Fitzgerald.

    Marha swatted in a rebound at 5:00 of the third period to put the Blackhawks back in front 3-2. Zhamnov added a power-play goal for insurance with 6:15 remaining and Kilger dumped in an empty-netter with 20 seconds left.

    "The guys are playing with confidence right now," Chicago coach Lorne Molleken said. "The guys really stuck with the plan and we gt a couple of points from it."

    Chicago improved to 19-37-9 and 47 points while Nashville dropped to 22-37-6 and 50 points. With 17 games remaining, the Blackhawks trail eighth-place San Jose by 13 points for the final Western Conference playoff spot. The Predators, who also have 17 games left, are 10 points behind.

    "It (making the playoffs) isn't in our hands anymore," Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. "We've let that slip away and now we have to rely on a lot of different factors for us to even have a sniff."

    Meanwhile, the Blackhawks closed to within three points of Nashville as they try to escape last place in the Western Conference and Central Division.

    "They (the Blackhawks) were very fortunate in their three games against us earlier," Trotz said. "Tonight they weren't fortunate; they played better."

    Chicago outshot Nashville 38-21 and tested Predators goaltender Mike Dunham.

    The Blackhawks outgunned the Predators14-3 in the first period, but were unable to beat Dunham.

    Amonte opened the scoring at 2:03 of the second period when he swept a rebound of Chris Chelios' shot through Dunham's pads. Dumont made it 2-0 two minutes later by one-timing in Eric Daze's cross-ice feed.

    Bordeleau, however, cut Chicago's lead to 2-1 with 3:20 left in the period by redirecting John Slaney's pass over Blackhawks goaltender Jocelyn Thibault from the edge of the crease.

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