'Hawks Soar Over Predators


Eric Daze's injury troubles appear to be history.

Daze, who missed three of the last four games with a back injury, scored twice for Chicago and goaltender Steve Passmore made 17 saves as the Blackhawks continued their domination over the Nashville Predators with a 3-1 win Friday night.

"Tonight we saw vintage Daze," Blackhawks coach Lorne Molleken said. "When he's skating the way he did tonight and shooting the puck he's going to have all kinds of success."

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  • The Blackhawks are 5-1-2 all-time against the second-year Predators. Over the same period, Chicago is just 27-46-4 against the rest of the league.

    The loss was a record fifth in a row for Nashville.

    Chicago took the lead 2:46 into the game on Daze's power-play goal from in close. Sylvain Cote and Bryan McCabe assisted on the goal.

    Daze connected again on a backhand 5:52 into the third. After Jean-Pierre Dumont caught Nashville in a line change and had two shots on Predators goaltender Mike Dunham, Daze lifted a short shot over the fallen Dunham for his team-leading sixth of the year.

    "I was kind of worried, because I missed 10 days and I didn't do a lot," Daze said. "But I had two good practices, and the last two games I've skated a lot better than I did before my injury. I feel really good right now."

    Moments after an apparent third Hawks goal by Dumont was nullified because the whistle had blown, Nashville's Tom Fitzgerald cut it to 2-1 with 9:15 left in the game with a wrist shot that got between Passmore's pads Passmore stopped Ville Peltonen twice in the closing minutes, and Chicago's Bryan Muir scored an empty-netter to put the game away.

    "For us right now, every win's key," Passmore said. "Nashville moves the puck so well on the power play, but they didn't get a lot of shots on the power play and that's a credit to our penalty killers."

    After Daze's first goal, Sergei Krivokrasov nearly tied it late in the opening period for Nashville. Passmore stopped Krivokrasov with his right skate.

    The Predators, who had scored power-play goals in nine straight games, failed to connect on any of four consecutive chances with the man advantage in the second period.

    Passmore was at his best during the fourth of those power plays, robbing Greg Johnson and Fitzgerald on quality chances in front.

    "It's frustrating going from such a high by winning four games in a row against good teams, to now struggling to get a win by one goal," Predators center Cliff Ronning said.

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