The Blackhawks came into Nashville looking to continue in a positive direction, as they beat the Kings handily on Sunday night in Chicago, 5–1. They looked good in the win, with Robin Lehner making a lot of good saves, Duncan Keith playing a great game and the offense finally showing up after a few no-shows in the games before that. The Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Drake Caggiula line looked to get something going, as well, as Kane only has one goal in his last four games. Going on the road has its challenges, though, so it remained to be seen if the Blackhawks would be able to make up some ground in the Central Division against some tough opponents on this road trip.
The lines on Tuesday were as follows:
Kane — Toews — Caggiula
Kubalik — Kampf — Nylander
Shaw — Dach — Saad
DeBrincat — Carpenter — Strome
Keith — de Haan
Koekkoek — Maatta
Gilbert — Gustafsson
The period started off at a very fast pace with both teams getting some chances that were all stopped by the respective teams’ goaltenders. There were a lot of chances that the Predators were able to take all the way in on net and get some chances on Lehner, who proved up to the task.
The Blackhawks managed to get a couple of three-on-ones on Pekka Rinne, but were not able to get much on the chances, save for an Alex DeBrincat wrister that Rinne had to be quick to kick the toe out to stop. Colton Sissons got a breakaway on Lehner after he blocked an Erik Gustafsson shot, but he missed the net completely.
The Predators showed off some quickness after that shot, getting a few more good chances in on net before the Blackhawks could clear their zone. Rinne did a great job of keeping the puck away from the Blackhawks as they came into the zone by playing it himself before they could get in on the attack.
The Blackhawks got their first power play on a Mikael Granlund cross check on Alex Nylander, trying to make something happen for the first time in five games. Chicago got two or three good chances, but could not generate much of anything against the Predators’ lackluster penalty kill. Toews rang a hard wrister off of the post on a good feed from David Kampf about half a minute later, but then the Ryan Johansen line came on strong right after. They peppered the Blackhawk net with shots, forcing Lehner to make a huge, lunging kick save to stop the best chance of the bunch. Johansen missed a shot that he tried to pull to the forehand, causing him to take too much time and allowing Lehner to get back into position and make the stop.
Then, a minute later, after a barrage of shots and so many great stops from Lehner, the Predators finally got through the defense, with Nick Bonino putting in a backhander off of a rebound, making it 1–0 Predators. The Blackhawks did come right back, though, throwing some hard shots in on Rinne, but getting outshot 19–6 will normally put you behind, and it did. After one period, it was 1–0 Predators.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) October 30, 2019
Just half a minute into the period, Dante Fabbro tripped Dylan Strome, giving the Blackhawks another chance to convert on the power play, which really needed to get something going. But, they did not do anything on the opportunity and were not able to generate hardly any shots on goal either. A short while later, Duncan Keith got called for a trip, which put the Blackhawks on the penalty kill for the first time in the game. Lehner made some more big stops to keep the puck out of the net, and to help the team kill off the penalty with few real scares.
The Predators kept the pressure on, though, with Bonino potting his second of the night off of a rebound, making it 2–0 Nashville. Same as the first period, the Blackhawks came back with a couple of good shots on goal that were good chances. After some back and forth for both sides with little to show for it, Lehner made an insane series of stops just before the five-minute mark, singlehandedly keeping the Blackhawks in the game.
The Predators did not let up, continuing to show off their speed and skill by passing the puck all around and skating all over the Blackhawks’ offensive zone. At the 17:50 mark of the period, Slater Koekkoek got called for a hooking penalty, putting the Blackhawks down a man again. Kampf and Brandon Saad both got a couple good chances in at the end of the period, but they did not amount to anything, as the period ended at a score of 2–0 Predators.
The first few minutes were physical if not overly productive. Both teams dished out some hits and received some in return, with the shots taken not presenting much of a challenge to either goaltender.
Then, guess who? Bonino struck for the third time in the game, capping off the hat trick and making the score 3–0 Predators by camping out in front of the net as he did on the first couple of goals.
The Predators continued to clog up the middle of the ice, not allowing the Blackhawks to have any easy entries into the offensive zone. Chicago did not have many good passes to get into the zone, having to try to poke it past the defense and chase it instead of dumping and chasing as they would like to do.
The Blackhawks were finally moving the puck well when Koekkoek got his stick up too high on Matt Duchene, putting the penalty killers back out on the ice to try to prevent another goal from going in. They managed to kill it off, thanks to some stellar stops from Lehner, and managed to get a great opportunity after on a beautiful pass from DeBrincat out in front to Strome, who missed the mark on his shot.
Then, the Blackhawks got another penalty to kill off, with Kane taking a hooking penalty and then out of frustration getting upset with the official, giving the Predators a four-minute power play. One minute in, however, the Predators’ Johansen took a hooking penalty on Andrew Shaw to make it a two-minute four-on-four opportunity. Not too much happened there, and afterwards it was still up to the Blackhawks to kill off the rest of Kane’s double minor, which they were able to do.
Keith brought on a couple of great shots on Rinne, but no one was able to get a stick on the rebounds, allowing Rinne to glove the puck. Other than Strome’s chance, the Blackhawks were not able to do much to put any pressure on Rinne and come very close to scoring. The game ended in a 3–0 Predators win.