Pekka Rinne at his best as the Predators knock off the Blackhawks

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Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews goes towards the net during their game with the Predators at the United Center on February 25th.

CHICAGO – A little more enthusiasm flowed through the United Center than usual on the West Side Thursday night. The reason was two fold.

For one, there was the news before Blackhawks’ game with the Predators that put their rooters in a good mood. Just before faceoff it was announced that the team had reacquired forward Andrew Ladd from the Jets. The former Blackhawk figures to add another weapon to a team seeking it’s first repeat Stanley Cup championship.

The other? That was the Predators.

Already this season the Blackhawks have won three-of-four games against their Central Division rival including two victories at the United Center. In all of those victories, one Pekka Rinne was in the goal for the Predators and the Blackhawks little trouble beating him.

But despite the optimistic vibe in the building, Rinne put some doubt in Blackhawks fans with a solid performance from start to finish,  turning away a number of good chances by the home team.

That would pay off as the Predators got the go-ahead goal with under two minutes to go and added an empty netter to pick up a 3-1 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday night. Rinne stopped 38 of 39 Blackhawks shots on the night and shut the team down for the better part of 60 minutes.

Calle Jarnkrok scored a go-ahead goal for Nashville with 1:51 remaining to give the Predators their first win in Chicago this year. The Blackhawks fall to 28-20-5 as the Predators have now gotten at least a point on the road in their last ten games.

After a scoreless first the Blackhawks were able to break through against Rinne in the second when Brent Seabrook put a shot in the back of the net to make it 1-0. But the Predators’ goalie continued to shut the door after that and Nashville evened the game later in the second on a goal by Viktor Arvidsson.