Sebastien Bordeleau is turning into the Nashville Predators' secret weapon at just the right time.
Bordeleau, who never scored more than six goals in three years with the Montreal Canadiens, got his 12th of the season Friday night and added two assists as the Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 5-3 to end a nine-game home winless streak.
"I say they're my checking line, and they're scoring all my goals," Predators coach Barry Trotz said of the trio of Bordeleau, Tom Fitzgerald, and Scott Walker. "I've given (Bordeleau) a lot more responsibility and he's taken it and run with it."
The Predators scored at even strength, on the power play, and Bordeleau's short-handed goal in the opening 7:43, and then held on to keep their flickering playoff hopes alive. Bordeleau has either scored or assisted on eight of Nashville's last 11 goals.
"I'm just trying to skate and keep things simple," said Bordeleau, who has 10 points in the last five games. "Our line is successful when we work hard and skate. We kept on saying we wanted to have a good start. Instead of saying it, tonight we just went and had a good start."
The expansion Predators, who defeated the last-place Blackhawks for the first time in five tries, had gone 0-8-1 and been outscored 40-20 in their previous nine games at Nashville Arena. This time, they scored three goals on their first seven shots against Jocelyn Thibault.
Sergei Krivokrasov scored a pair of goals, and Mike Dunham made 31 saves for his 14th win. Tony Amonte scored his 31st goal for Chicago.
Walker connected just 1:15 into the game, pushing the rebound of Bordeleau's slap shot past Thibault's glove. Tom Fitzgerald began the play by stealing the puck at the Chicago line.
Sergei Krivokrasov's 20th goal made it 2-0 on the power play. His point-blank shot bounced off Thibault and another Blackhawk before barely dribbling over the line Play continued, and the goal was only awarded after a video replay.
"It was one of those nights," Chicago coach Lorne Molleken said. "Give Nashville credit. They came out and played hard the early part of the game. But our players deserve a lot of credit, too."
At 7:43, Bordeleau came out from behind the Chicago net to beat Thibault short-handed at the left post.
"We had breakdowns," Chicago forward Doug Gilmour said. "You don't let the home team come out and get a 3-0 lead."
The Predators killed off Chicago's two-man advantage for two minutes early in the second period, as Dunham stopped Gilmour twice.
Alexei Zhamnov finally beat Dunham from between the circles later in the period. Amonte made it 3-2 with 5:16 left, on a hard wrist shot from the right circle.
Bob Boughner's slap shot from the high slot 54 seconds later put the Predators back up by two, 4-2.
"(Thibault) knows he was out of the crease, but they still have to make an attempt to get out of the goaltender's way," Blackhawks captain Chris Chelios said of Boughner's goal. "You can't hit the goalie, no matter what."
Just 28 seconds after that, Chicago's Reid Simpson re-directed Dave Manson's shot past Dunham and it was 4-3. Krivokrasov scored the clincher into an empty net, his 21st.
"We're a better team than they are," Krivokrasov said of his former team. "Tonight we just got (ticked) off. It's time to get going."
Center Darren Turcotte, who had missed the previous 24 games with an injury, returned for Nashville.
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