We saw one of the more dominating performances you’ll see in a hockey game as the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Nashville Predators’ winning streak has reached four after pummeling the Blackhawks 3-0, but the scoreboard doesn’t really do it justice. This game felt more like a six or seven-goal drubbing, but incredible goaltending kept it close for a while.
That incredible goaltending came from Robin Lehner, as he faced a relentless Nashville attack all night. He faced 51 shots, and many of them were very difficult saves. Without him, the Blackawks get blown out of the building in much more embarrassing fashion. The 51 shots on goal are four short of the franchise record for the Predators.
With this latest win, the Predators have now outscored opponents 16-3 over their four-game winning streak. They’ve also shutout the opponent over the last two games. And this is all without Filip Forsberg in the lineup.
Nick Bonino gets the hat trick
Who saw this coming? Nick Bonino scores all three of the Nashville goals on the night for his third career shutout. He’s been the topic of trade rumors for a while now, much like Kyle Turris. Now both of them appear to be clicking and increasing their value on the market.
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Bonino was all over the net in this one, as was most of the team. His three goals all came with him creating havoc right in front of the net. Check out the heat map from Natural Stat Trick to see a visual of how much pressure the Predators created in front of Lehner:
The Predators generated 13 high-danger chances while Chicago only managed three. They didn’t test Rinne much at all, which isn’t a good way to score goals when you’re facing a hot goaltender that’s already coming off one shutout.
I really like what the third line has been doing with Bonino and Colton Sissons. These two are critical pieces to the Predators’ bottom six, and suddenly this looks like a huge strength of the team. Initially, all of the pressure was on the top two lines, Bonino’s line is looking solid now.
Also have to mention Rocco Grimaldi‘s three assists on all of Bonino’s goals. Grimaldi is really making his case known to be a regular on this roster, something he’s been trying to accomplish on the NHL level for his entire career. What a showing from him and the rest of the third line.
Bonino finishes with an incredible stat line aside from just the three goals. He puts up nine shots on goal, has a faceoff percentage of 58.3 and could’ve easily scored a couple more times. Great effort from him as he now leads the Predators in goals with six on the season.
Rinne gets second-straight shutout
Rinne didn’t have to be nearly as sharp as Lehner, but nonetheless he gets his 57th career shutout. He has two-straight shutouts after blanking the Wild last Thursday. He also still hasn’t lost in regulation with his record improving to 7-0-1.
With this latest shutout, Rinne now moves into the top-20 all time in shutouts, tying Marc-Andre Fleury and Clint Benedict. Shutouts are so much more difficult to attain in today’s fast-paced NHL. Among active players, Rinne only trails Henrik Lundqvist with 63 career shutouts. It’ll be tough for him to reach that number this season.
If we’re in store for another Vezina-type season from Rinne, then we should really start get excited about how far this team can ago. We already know they have one of the most lethal offenses in the game. If you pair that with a goaltender who isn’t surrendering many goals, then you suddenly have a deadly combination.
Sure, this dominant win comes against a rebuilding Blackhawks squad, but the Predators are also beating high-quality opponents as well. They’re taking care of business against teams they should handle easily, which they weren’t doing in the early going. Best part about this win is it came from the depth of the roster and not from the normal stars of the team.
Next up the Predators welcome the Calgary Flames to continue their three-game homestand. The Predators are now 6-1-1 at home, are plus-14 in goal differential and tied up with the Colorado Avalanche atop the Central Division.