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game recap

Predators shut out Blackhawks again, win Game 2

Pekka Rinne makes 30 saves, has two assists to give Nashville 2-0 series lead

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Nashville Predators added offense to their strong defense for a 5-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round at United Center on Saturday.

Following a 1-0, Game 1 win on Thursday, Pekka Rinne made 30 saves for a second straight shutout that gave the Predators a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series with Game 3 in Nashville on Monday.

"It was almost like a chess match [in Game 1]," said Predators defenseman Ryan Ellis, who scored the first goal at 3:44 of the first period. "For us tonight, we wanted to be more attacking. I thought we played solid defense last game, but it's not fun playing defense for the whole game. Tonight I think it was a little bit more back and forth."

 

[WATCH: All Predators vs. Blackhawks highlights] | [RELATED: Complete Nashville vs. Chicago series coverage]

 

Chicago has lost the first two games of a series at home for the first time in a streak of nine straight seasons in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Video: NSH@CHI, Gm2: Rinne blanks Hawks again in Game 2 win

"They're doing everything defensively to frustrate us and give us nothing," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. "It seems like we're trying to force plays that aren't there sometimes, and when they get their chances, they're taking advantage of our mistakes and it ends up in the back of our net."

Rinne had two assists, on goals by Harry Zolnierczyk at 2:51 of the second period and Ryan Johansen at 13:49 of the third.

Zolnierczyk's goal on a breakaway made it 2-0, and Johansen made it 4-0, after Colton Sissons gave Nashville a 3-0 lead with 7:00 left in the second.

Video: NSH@CHI, Gm2: Sissons capitalizes on loose puck

"It's not every night you get a shutout," said Rinne, who has made 59 saves in the series. "It's pretty rare. So, for sure, it feels great personally, but also as a team, we all have to feel good about it."

Johansen had three points (one goal, two assists). He assisted on Ellis' goal and a power-play goal by Kevin Fiala at 18:13 of the third period that made it 5-0.

Video: NSH@CHI, Gm2: Johansen chips home a rebound

Rinne made seven saves in the first period, 14 in the second and nine in the third for his third Stanley Cup Playoff shutout. Zolnierczyk, Ellis, Sissons and Fiala each scored his first NHL playoff goal.

Corey Crawford allowed five goals on 29 shots for the Blackhawks, who haven't scored in the postseason since Andrew Shaw scored at 3:20 of the third period in a Game 7, first-round loss to the St. Louis Blues last year.

 

Goal of the game

Ellis' initial shot attempt from the point was blocked by Richard Panik, but the puck came right back for a second shot that beat Crawford through traffic.

Video: NSH@CHI, Gm2: Ellis buries a slapper through traffic

 
Save of the game

Blackhawks rookie center Tanner Kero passed to Marcus Kruger from behind the Predators net, and Rinne sprawled to make a left-pad save on a quick wrist shot with 8:50 left in the third period.

"There were some unbelievable saves, especially in the third period, when the game is 3-0," Nashville coach Peter Laviolette said. "We know we are in a good spot, but the next goal is also a big goal in somebody's building."

 

Unsung performance of the game

Predators defenseman Matt Irwin broke up a pass intended for Marian Hossa that would've created a breakaway at 2:03 of the second period. Zolnierczyk scored for Nashville 48 seconds later.

 

Highlight of the game

Zolnierczyk took a stretch pass from Mattias Ekholm and beat Crawford with a wrist shot high to the glove side.

"I took a quick peek up and just kind of tried to shield the puck," Zolnierczyk said. "I cut in a little bit, and I just wanted to chip it up over his shoulder there. Luckily there was enough room to do that."

Video: NSH@CHI, Gm2: Zolnierczyk goes bar-down on breakaway

 
They said it

"That wasn't the game plan coming in here, to leave here and say, 'Oh yeah, they'll get nothing.' But our guys went to work and did a good job." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette

 

"I haven't scored a goal in two games. Not acceptable. As an offensive guy, you pride yourself in that. I've got to be better personally." -- Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane

 

Need to know

Toews and Kane have one goal between them in Chicago's past nine playoff games. Toews hasn't scored in 11 straight postseason games, dating to the second period of Game 4 in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Kane scored in Game 5 against the Blues last year (April 21). ... Rinne is the first Predators goalie to have two assists in a playoff game and the first in the NHL since April 11, 2004 (Jose Theodore for the Montreal Canadiens in Game 3 of the 2004 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Boston Bruins), according to the Elias Sports Bureau. ... Predators forward Colin Wilson (lower body) missed his fourth straight game. ... Blackhawks rookie forward Vinnie Hinostroza didn't skate on a line during warmups but made his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut and played 6:48 in place of Jordin Tootoo.

 

What's next

Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Monday (9:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN 1, TVA Sports, FS-TN, CSN-CH)

 

Video: Rinne's 30-save shutout lifts Predators to Game 2 win

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