NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Cole Smith scored two goals, Gustav Nyquist scored just hours after welcoming his third child into the world and the Nashville Predators defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in a Saturday matinee.
Philipp Kurashev and Tyler Johnson scored and Arvid Soderblom made 28 saves for Chicago, losers of three-straight and four of five.
Lankinen, a former Blackhawk, made his second start of the season between the pipes for Nashville. Lankinen’s best stop came on Alex Vlasic’s shorthanded breakaway attempt with 5:00 remaining in the first.
“I would lie if I said it wasn’t a little extra special,” Lankinen said. “Obviously Chicago will always have a special place in my heart. That was the place where they gave me the opportunity to fulfill my boyhood dream to play in the NHL.”
Soderblom’s record on the season fell to 1-6-0.
Nyquist made it 2-0 at 18:32 of the first with a power-play goal, just hours after his wife, Danielle, delivered their third daughter Greta around 7:30 Friday night.
“Both of them did great, mom and baby… amazing experience, third time, but still it’s incredible (and) super happy they’re both doing great,” Nyquist said. “A little different pregame routine I guess, but it was nice to get a win today, finally back in the win column and it was big for this team to get a win and feel good about yourself for a day.”
Kurashev, playing in his 200th NHL game, got Chicago on the scoreboard at 13:04 of the second when he buried a rebound of Connor Bedard’s shot from the left faceoff dot.
“It’s hard to lose. It’s not a good feeling,” Kurashev said. “We’ve got another game tomorrow. So it’s a quick turnaround and we’ve got to be ready tomorrow.”
Bedard played his first game in the building where the Blackhawks made him the first overall pick of this past June’s draft.
Smith scored with 3:40 remaining in the second to restore Nashville’s two-goal lead. The Predators lost their previous two games after holding two-goal leads in both.
“Tonight they got within one, and I think the resilience of us to be able to stick together and be able to find a way to win one of these games is huge for us,” Smith said.
Tyler Johnson scored with 7:45 remaining to again close the gap to one goal. But Smith added an empty-net goal in the final minute to clinch it for Nashville.
“I liked our push. But we’ve got to make sure that we somehow find a way to get up on teams when we have good starts like that,” Chicago coach Luke Richardson said.
Blackhawks: Host Buffalo Sunday.
Predators: Host Colorado Monday.