CHICAGO – Marian Hossa scored a power-play goal just 52 seconds into overtime and the streaking Chicago Blackhawks swept the season series against the Nashville Predators for the first time with a 5-4 victory on Friday night.
With Rich Clune in the penalty box serving a four-minute minor for high sticking, Patrick Kane sent a pass across the ice to Hossa, who one-timed it past Pekka Rinne for his 17th goal of the season. Kane, Michal Handzus, Duncan Keith and Brandon Saad also scored for the NHL-best Blackhawks, who have won seven in a row.
Slumping Nashville has dropped eight in a row and 11 of 12 overall. Matt Halischuk had two goals and Kevin Henderson scored in his first NHL game, but the Predators still lost to the Blackhawks for the fourth time this month and the sixth consecutive occasion dating to last season.
Chicago and Nashville were tied at 2 after the first period, and exchanged goals again in the second. Kane gave the Blackhawks the lead when he got a pass from Bryan Bickell and slid the puck between Rinnes legs for his team-best 21st of the season at 9:20, but Halischuk then got his second of the game when he followed his own shot on a breakaway, making it 3-all with 7:29 left in the period.
BLUES 2, STARS 1: In St. Louis, Brian Elliott made 21 saves to help St. Louis win for the ninth time in 11 games.
Ryan Reaves and Chris Stewart scored for the Blues, who are in sixth in the Western Conference with 54 points – one behind Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Jose, who are tied for third.
Antoine Roussel scored for Dallas, which came in with six victories in its last seven games. The Stars are tied with Detroit for ninth place in the Western Conference with 47 points, two behind Columbus, which holds the final playoff spot.
Elliott recorded his league-leading eighth win in April, won for the sixth time in his last seven games and improved to 8-1 since a two-game stint in the minors in late March.
Stewart broke a seven-game drought on the power play midway through the first period. St. Louis had failed in its previous 18 power-play attempts.
Reaves pushed the lead to 2-0 with his second goal of the season in the second period.
RANGERS 8, SABRES 4: In Buffalo, N.Y., Brad Richards notched his first NHL hat trick to lead New York, which scored five times in a span of less than 3 minutes.
The five-goal spurt at the end of the opening period and the beginning of the second was part of a 6-0 outburst. Richards scored two of the first five goals, and then completed the hat trick in the third period as the win kept the Rangers in eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
OILERS 4, AVALANCHE 1: In Denver, Jordan Eberle scored and had two assists, and Devan Dubnyk stopped 33 shots as Edmonton snapped a six-game skid.
Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also had goals for the Oilers, who kept their faint postseason hopes afloat. They trail current No. 8 seed Columbus by eight points with five games to play.