Thibault makes 17 saves as Blackhawks win 2-0


CHICAGO (AP) -- Jocelyn Thibault's 28th birthday went even better
than he hoped.

Thibault made 17 saves to record his NHL-leading sixth shutout
in the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-0 victory Sunday night over the
Nashville Predators. The victory snapped the Blackhawks' four-game
winless streak (0-0-2-2) and allowed Chicago to extend its stretch
without a regulation loss to 12 games (6-0-4-2).

''It's a great feeling to have your birthday go that well,''
Thibault said. ''I was just hoping for a win and got the shutout.
''Tonight the guys played great in front of me. I just did what I
had to and they gave me a great present.''

Thibault was only lightly tested in his 33rd career shutout. He
made one of his best stops when Nashville's Adam Hall fired from
the edge of the crease during a Predators' power play with three
minutes left in the third.

Eric Daze and Theo Fleury scored for Chicago. Fleury's goal was
the 450th of his career.

''I'm hoping to be around a few more years and reach 500,'' said
Fleury, who also assisted on Daze's goal. ''Any time you can
contribute offensively it's great.''

Alex Zhamnov had two assists for the Blackhawks.

Nashville's three-game winning streak and four-game unbeaten run
(3-0-1) ended. Tomas Vokoun blocked 18 Chicago shots.

''I thought we played a solid defensive game'' Nashville's Andy
Delmore said. ''We've just got to bear down and get some goals,
generate some opportunities. ''(Thibault) made some good saves. He
takes away the bottom of the net so well and we didn't get the puck
up where we wanted to.''

After a scoreless first period, Daze gave Chicago a 1-0 lead 51
seconds into the second. Daze, who missed Chicago's previous three
games because of a stiff back, cut in off right wing against
Nashville's Cale Hulse and fired a shot between Vokoun's pads.

Fleury made it 2-0 with 9:29 left in the third.

Zhamnov set up Fleury, who was all alone in front of the net.
Fleury didn't shoot right away, but circled to the right side of
the net and then bounced in a shot off Vokoun's pad from behind the
goal line.

''I used to make all my money playing pool,'' Fleury said.
''Just one of those bank shots into the side pocket.''

Game notes
Chicago defenseman Phil Housley missed the game because of the flu.
... Blackhawks defenseman Jon Klemm missed his 10th game due to an injured
left hand. ... The four previous Blackhawks games went into
overtime. ... Zhamnov has nine assists in his past six games. He
also has 25 points in 24 career games against the Predators. ...
Vokoun made his 19th consecutive start, all since the Predators traded
Mike Dunham to the New York Rangers on Dec. 12.