NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Following a 3-1 loss Tuesday night at home to the Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks right winger Patrick Kane said he and his line needed to take more shots on net.
Taking his advice to heart, Kane scored the winning goal and reached a personal milestone with a flick of his wrists Thursday night.
Kane's pinpoint wrister at 14:48 of the third period snapped a 2-2 tie and gave him his 700th career point as Chicago rallied for a 3-2 win over the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena.
Although the Blackhawks were outshot 38-23, Kane was in attack mode all game, putting four shots on net and missing with three others. His last shot was vintage Kane, as he looked off a defender and let fly from the right faceoff circle, beating Pekka Rinne short-side for his 11th goal of the season.
"Our bench was yelling 3-on-2 and then 4-on-2," Kane said. "Their defenseman kept backing up and you have to have confidence in yourself, so I thought I'd take a shot."
Kane's goal enabled Chicago (23-10-5) to snap a season-high three-game losing streak and stay atop the Central Division while dumping Nashville (15-14-6) to 4-6-3 in December. The Predators have lost five straight home games.
This loss was especially galling for Nashville, which led 2-1 after Mike Fisher's power-play marker at 6:13 of the third, his 10th of the season. At that point, the Predators owned a 32-17 advantage in shots on goal and were swarming the goal.
But goalie Corey Crawford (13-7-3), who played brilliantly, making 36 saves, made a shrewd veteran move as the Blackhawks started a rush. Crawford appeared to skate into the path of right winger Craig Smith as Smith moved through the crease, and the ensuing contact drew the attention of rookie referee Jake Brenk.
Smith was called for tripping Crawford at 9:46, enraging the Nashville portion of a bi-partisan audience. There was more anger when Chicago cashed in the ensuing power play, Jonathan Toews tipping home Brent Seabrook's point blast at 11:04 for his sixth goal.
"I was moving forward," said Crawford. "I tried to brace myself, because it had happened earlier, but I didn't brace myself too well."
Crawford was involved in a similar collision with Kevin Fiala seconds before the one with Smith. While Crawford and the Blackhawks had one viewpoint, Predators coach Peter Laviolette predictably offered another.
"They're both penalties on the goaltender," Laviolette said.
Smith wasn't quite as restrained as his coach.
"It's a missed call," he said. "It happens too much. I guess it's a good play by him because the ref's not looking and he's able to stick his leg out and act like I ran into him. He obviously turned and stuck his leg out, but if the refs don't catch it, good play by him.
"Oh yeah, they also scored a goal on a stupid call like that. I don't think anyone wants the game to be decided like that."
Retired NHL referee Kerry Fraser weighed in afterward on social media, saying he would not give Crawford the benefit of the doubt and crease protection, and that the call should have been either interference or embellishment.
Regardless, the result was another helping of frustration for Nashville, which tried 70 shots to Chicago's 43 and also outhit the Blackhawks 18-14. But it gave up two power play goals and couldn't convert its huge shot advantage into enough goals to win.
Artem Anisimov started the scoring at 13:19 of the first period with his 16th goal, tipping home Duncan Keith's point shot with Mike Ribeiro in the box. Filip Forsberg tied it for the Predators 35 seconds later with a one-timer from just beyond the right faceoff circle.
Rinne (13-10-5) finished with 20 saves for Nashville, but couldn't come up with the one he needed most on Kane.
"Pretty cool number," Kane said of his 700th point. "I've played with some pretty good players. It just means I'm getting older, I guess. It's neat to reach these milestones."
NOTES: Chicago LW Artemi Panarin agreed Thursday to terms on a 2-year, $12 million contract extension that kicks in next season. Panarin entered Thursday night's game as the team's leading scorer with 15 goals and 22 assists. ... Nashville LW James Neal (upper-body injury) left the game after the second period and didn't return. ... The Blackhawks scratched D Brian Campbell, ending his streak of 423 consecutive games played, as well as LW Andrew Desjardins and D Gustav Forsling. ... Predators scratches were D Adam Pardy and C Colton Sissons.