For Matt Duchene, confidence was the difference.
Duchene scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Nashville Predators a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
Nick Cousins had the regulation goal for Nashville.
Ryan Carpenter had the Chicago goal. The Blackhawks have dropped two in a row, but have earned at least one standings point in their last five games.
It was the second straight night the teams needed extra time to decide the game. Nashville won Tuesday night’s first game of the back-to-back set on an overtime goal by captain Roman Josi.
In the tiebreaker, Duchene skated down the center of the ice, froze Chicago goaltender Kevin Lankinen with a forehand move before lifting a backhand under the crossbar of the fallen goaltender.
“Coming in there, I think in a shootout, it starts upstairs in your head,” Duchene said. “For me, it starts upstairs and just having that confidence. When you pick that puck up, you've got to know that you’re going to score and I had that feeling tonight.”
Cousins scored the game’s first goal at 5:24 of the third period.
After Chicago turned the puck over just inside the Nashville blue line, Duchene chipped the puck off of the glass and Cousins outmaneuvered Chicago defenseman Calvin de Haan to take control of the puck. Cousins skated down the right side on a 2-on-1 and snapped a quick wrist shot between the pads of Lankinen from the right circle.
Lankinen finished with 41 saves in regulation and overtime, including 20 in the third period.
The goal was Cousins’ first as a Predator.
Carpenter tied it 4 minutes later.
Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros denied Carpenter’s redirection of a shot from Brandon Hagel, but Carpenter collected his own rebound and managed to slip a tough angle shot past Saros for his first of the season.
The assist was Hagel’s first career NHL point.
“I didn’t grab the puck, I hope someone grabbed it for him,” Carpenter said of Hagel. “He’s been playing so well. He brings so much energy every night. Even on a back-to-back, he was skating well.”
Saros made 29 saves and denied all three Blackhawk shooters in the shootout.
POWER PLAY DENIED
Chicago entered Wednesday with at least one power-play goal scored in each of their seven games played this season, the second longest stretch to open a season in franchise history, trailing only the 1990-91 team, which scored 17 power play goals in the first 11 games of that season.
PENALTY KILLING PROMISE
Nashville entered Wednesday last in the NHL in penalty killing percentage at 54.0%, giving up nine power-play goals against in their last three games. Complicating matters was the fact that Chicago has the league’s second-best power play, clicking at 42.0% entering the game. The Predators denied the Blackhawks on all four of their power play attempts Wednesday, holding them to two shots on goal.
After allowing the first goal in each of their first six games, Cousins’ goal was the first time Nashville scored first this season.
Duchene played in his 800th career game. Duchene is in his second season with the Predators after stops in Colorado, Ottawa and Columbus.
The Predators head to the Sunshine State for four games, two each with Tampa Bay and Florida, beginning Saturday in Tampa Bay.
The Blackhawks return home for four-straight, starting Friday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets.