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updated: 12/23/2010 12:03 AM

Skille helps Hawks top Predators 4-1

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  • Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, right, blocks a shot by Nashville Predators' Martin Erat, left, during the third period in Chicago, Wednesday.

      Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, right, blocks a shot by Nashville Predators' Martin Erat, left, during the third period in Chicago, Wednesday.
    Associated Press

 
 

A week ago the Blackhawks were frustrated and trying to figure out what was wrong.

Now look who has a three-game winning streak going into the Christmas break.

Jack Skille scored 2 goals for the second time this season and Corey Crawford made 24 saves in a 4-1 win over Nashville on Wednesday night at the United Center.

Skille's other 2-goal game also came against the Predators on Nov. 13 at Nashville.

The puck finally went in for Skille, who came into the game with a minuscule 4.3 percent scoring percentage.

Skille had 4 goals on 92 shots before Wednesday. He had 9 shots on goal but failed to score in Friday's win over Detroit but was 2-for-2 on this big night.

"Sometimes it's tough not to get frustrated when you're getting those chances, but I knew I just had to keep pressing on," Skille said.

"I just think if you stay with it and keep getting chances and getting shots like that you want to keep doing the same thing because they're going to find a way in," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.

The Hawks have won eight of their last 12 games, with the key being the switch to Crawford in goal. Crawford was rock solid again in running his personal record to 11-6-1, making 20 saves in the first two periods.

"When goalies get confidence there's no stopping them," said Skille, who saw Crawford have similar hot stretches in the minors when they were teammates.

"Right now he's got confidence and hopefully he brings it every night and doesn't change his work ethic because he works hard every day in practice and it's obviously leaking into games."

The Predators are a team that can be frustrating to play against because of their trapping style, but the Hawks had all the answers for it. They chipped the puck into the attack zone, forechecked well, and played their game, which is puck control.

An aggressive forecheck by Dave Bolland resulted in his goal at 12:29 of the first period that opened the scoring.

Bolland hounded defenseman Kevin Klein, who played the puck back to his own goalie, Anders Lindback. Fernando Pisani picked off Lindback's pass toward the left boards and fed Bolland in front for the score.

"Scoring first certainly was a big factor in tonight's game," Quenneville said. "I thought we didn't get out of it, how we had to play against them.

"I thought the guys were very smart in sticking with what we had to do to be successful."

The Hawks stayed aggressive into the second period and went on the power play at 7:51, when defenseman Ryan Sutter threw Jonathan Toews to the ice on a play at the net.

The Hawks cashed on when Bolland fed Skille for a wicked wrist shot past Lindback.

Skille and Bryan Bickell added third-period goals. It was Bickell's 10th of the season and sixth in the last eight games.

"To get these 3 wins at home, we have some momentum going and we have to keep it going after the Christmas break," Bickell said.

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