Series (Game 3 of 5)

Chicago leads 3-1

Game 1: Sunday, November 17th
Game 2: Saturday, January 4th
Game 3: Sunday, January 12th
Game 4: Saturday, March 1st
Game 5: Thursday, March 27th

Predators 0

(13-19-4, 37 pts)

Blackhawks 2

(20-13-2, 50 pts)

8:00 PM ET, January 12, 2003

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 T
NSH 0 0 00
CHI 0 1 12

J. Thibault (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 17, Save Pct.: 1.000

E. Daze (Blackhawks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Zhamnov (Blackhawks - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

Thibault makes 17 saves as Blackhawks win 2-0

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

Jocelyn Thibault
Chicago Blackhawks
37 19 12 6 .923 2.08

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press