The Chicago Blackhawks remain undefeated in regulation by defeating the Nashville Predators, 3-0 on the road. Chicago goalie Corey Crawford recorded his first shutout of the year, even though he was rarely challenged by Nashville. “[Crawford's play] was outstanding today. We are happy with his performance,” said Chicago goal scorer Marcus Kruger.
Nashville just didn’t play well tonight. They were outplayed and the extra day of rest Chicago had, was used against them. However, that isn’t a good excuse for being severely outshot 27-17. Preds’ defenseman Hal Gill said, “Gill: “[Chicago] played a simple, patient game.”
In a back and forth first period, the Predators were lucky to head to the locker room with the score even. Nashville center Nick Spaling had the best chance of the period for his team by hitting the post off of a rebound attempt. For Chicago, the usual suspects such as Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane all had excellent chances or plays in the first, but Pekka Rinne was capable to stop all of them. “They played hard there and brought the heat,” said defenseman Ryan Ellis.
Richard Clune and Andrew Shaw dropped the gloves at 2:41 in the 2nd. Clune was able to get off a few punches after spinning around, while Shaw was able to get the takedown.
The Blackhawks carried over their pressure into the second period, for most of the twenty minutes. Any chance Chicago had at shooting, they fired it on net. Whether it was blocked, missed the net or made it on net, they shot.
Chicago scored two goals in 1:07 during the second. The first goal came from Kruger from the high slot, after Predators’ defenseman Roman Josi turned the puck over the Blackhawk at the blue line. Kruger’s shot rang off the post past Rinne to give his team a 1-0 lead. “We were on the forecheck, their defenseman lost the puck, I took it [from him] and shot,” said Kruger. Gill said, “The first goal was a big help for them and we couldn’t recover from it.”
Just shortly after, Duncan Keith’s shot hit off Toews’ chest and was able to sail over Rinne into the net, giving Chicago padding to their lead.
Towards the end of the second, there were a few sparks of life from the Predators, but the Blackhawks were still able to outplay and out skate them.
The dagger in the heart for the Predators and their fans came from Kane, who scored a fluky goal on Rinne. Kane shot the puck along the near wall and slipped through a hole Rinne left open in his post knee up position. That was the final goal of the night as the Predators were deflated afterwards.
Nashville was unable to score a goal after a couple of solid chances and in doing so, gave the Blackhawks a 3-0 victory.
Line Up Report
#35 Pekka Rinne
#50 Corey Crawford
Predators Scratches: #23 W Brian McGrattan and #24 W Matt Halischuk
Blackhawks Scratches: #17 D Sheldon Brookbank and #52 W Brandon Bollig
Chicago Shoots: Throughout the game, when the Chicago Blackhawks had possession of the puck in their offensive zone, usually if they weren’t passing, they were shooting. Even though many of their shots didn’t get on net because they were either blocked or missed wide, they still fired it.
The Blackhawks had 27 shots in net for the night.
Nashville failed to do what Chicago did until the third period, which was throwing pucks on net. Barry Trotz said the hard workers were keeping it simple by putting pucks on net in the third, which led to the increase of shots.
Goals and Assists
1-0 CHI: Marcus Kruger – unassisted at 6:14 in the 2nd
2-0 CHI: Jonathan Toews – Keith and Hossa at 7:20 in the 2nd
3-0 CHI: Patrick Kane – Bolland and Roszival at 4:27 in the 3rd
My Three Stars of the Game
1. Corey Crawford: Shutout, 17 saves
2. Patrick Kane: Goal
3. Marcus Kruger: Goal