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Predators run win streak to eight

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Nashville Predators made quick work
of the Chicago Blackhawks for their season-opening eighth straight
victory.

Paul Kariya had a goal and an assist, Tomas Vokoun made a
season-high 38 saves and the Predators scored three first-period
goals in their 5-3 victory Tuesday night.

The Predators, two off the NHL record of 10 straight wins at the
start of a season set by Toronto in 1993-94, matched the
second-longest streak in league history. The 1934-35 Maple Leafs
and 1975-76 Buffalo Sabres also opened with eight wins in a row.

"We're in pretty elite company right now," coach Barry Trotz
said. "I told the team that if we can do something special, go for
it. If it happens, great. If not, we'll move on."

The Predators will face Columbus on the road Wednesday night
before returning home to play Edmonton on Saturday night.

"We are trying not to make a big deal of the record," said
David Legwand, who also had a goal and an assist. "We are aware of
our situation, but it is early."

Martin Erat also had a goal and an assist, Steve Sullivan and
Yanic Perreault added goals, and Scott Hartnell had three assists
for the Predators.

"A lot of credit goes to our penalty killers," Trotz said.
"Your best penalty killer is your goaltender and he was great
again tonight."

Chicago outshot Nashville 41-22, but was 1-for-13 on the power
play.

"Good teams find a way to cash in on the power play, and we
couldn't do that tonight," Chicago forward Martin Lapointe said.

Erat opened the scoring with a slap shot that beat goalie
Nikolai Khabibulin to the far side, Perreault scored his fourth of
the season on a power play with 6:11 remaining, and Kariya scored
off a give-and-go with Legwand 1:15 later.

Chicago cut it to 3-2 on goals by Jim Dowd and Matthew Barnaby
in the second period, but Legwand made it 4-2 when he banked a shot
of the post.

"Leggy's goal sort of stopped the bleeding," Trotz said.

Sullivan gave the Predators a 5-2 lead with a breakaway,
short-handed goal in the third period before Jim Vandermeer scored
a late power-play goal for Chicago.

The game featured five fights between the division rivals.
Nashville had no fighting penalties in the first seven games of the
season.

"Today, we were oil and water," Trotz said. "We didn't mix
very well. We had guys with a little bit of anger."

With Ottawa's 3-2 loss to Carolina on Monday night, the
Predators are the lone unbeaten team in the NHL.

Chicago, coming off a 4-2 win over Minnesota on Sunday, has yet
to win consecutive games this season.

Game notes
The Predators played the 500th game in franchise history.
It was the 499th game for Trotz, who missed a game in his first
season with the team to attend a funeral. ... Nashville assistant
captain Scott Walker did not play because of an abdominal strain.
... Legwand picked up his 200th career point in the first period,
and Kariya was credited with his 400th assist in the second period
... Chicago's Trent Yawney coached his first game since a five-day
leave of absence due to the death of his father-in-law.