Just one game after being a healthy scratch, Predators rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis picked up a goal and an assist in Nashville’s 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena.
Rookie Ryan Ellis picked up a goal and an assist Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena
In 20 games, Ellis has 3 goals and 5 assists for 8 points. Tuesday night’s goal came with only 5:42 remaining in the third period and it broke a 2-2 tie. With what would become the game-winning goal, Ellis now has two game clinching tallies to his name. The rookie also picked up an assist on Nashville’s second goal of the night when he took a shot from the point that was deflected in front by Nick Spaling. The multi-point game was the third of Ellis’ young career.
David Legwand picked up the assist on the Ellis goal. The assist gave Legwand 300 helpers in his career and is now the first player in franchise history to record 300 assists.
While Chicago has now gone 0-8-1 in its last 9 games, it is interesting to note that three of the nine losses have come at the hands of the Nashville Predators.
Chicago is a frustrated team.
After the game, Marian Hossa said the team played well, despite the loss. “Right now it’s hard to talk, obviously, after another loss. Maybe it’s going to sound like an old song but I thought we really battled tonight. We did lots of good things. We spent lots of time in their zone. At the end, one redirected puck ended up in our net and that hurts.”
Ray Emery added that the team lost momentum, and it is frustrating. “We’re playing the way we’re supposed to. We tie it up and have a lot of momentum going for us, and then they get that one with less than ten minutes left, so it’s frustrating,” he said.
The Predators opened scoring late in the first period. Ryan Suter picked up his 7th goal of the season with 2:40 remaining in the opening frame. Chicago answered 40 seconds later when Bryan Bickell’s wrist shot beat Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne.
Nick Spaling broke the 1-1 tie with 2:39 remaining in the second period to give Nashville the 2-1 lead heading into the final frame when he deflected Ellis’ shot from the point past Emery for his 8th goal of the season. The Predators are now 14-0-1 when Spaling scores a goal.
Hossa tied the game 6:05 into the third period and has 7 points in 4 games against Nashville this season, including 3 goals and 4 assists. But the Ellis goal broke the tie with 5:42 remaining in regulation. Ellis had a goal and an assist with just 14:39 minutes of ice time.
Predators head coach Barry Trotz said Nashville got a lucky bounce on the game-winning goal, but points out Chicago also benefited from a little luck. “I was just saying the winning goal was sort of payback for Hossa’s goal when it went off Josi. You know that when you shoot the puck, good things can happen,” he said. Ellis’ shot beat Emery after the puck hit Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith out front.
Predators defenseman Ryan Suter said Nashville made key plays at the right time. “When things aren’t going well you want to simplify and get things to the net and that’s what we did tonight and it paid off for us. Both teams were trying to feel each other out a little bit and you don’t want to make that first mistake,” he said, adding, “They held on to the puck quite a bit, but we got some fortunate bounces. Spaling made a good tip, Ellis had a good shot, and then Ellis’s last one went off of their defenseman. If you work hard good things happen and we were fortunate tonight.”
With Suter’s goal, the alternate captain ties Cliff Ronning for 10th in franchise scoring with 38 goals and 188 assists for 226 career points.
Patric Hornqvist missed the game for Nashville. He was listed as being out of the lineup with an upper-body injury.
The Predators don’t play again until Friday night when they travel to Detroit to take on the red hot Red Wings. Tuesday night Detroit set a new NHL record with their 21st consecutive home win. They will try to make it 22 straight home wins when the Predators visit Joe Louis Arena.
Photo Credit: AP