Pekka Rinne made 30 saves in his second consecutive shutout and picked up two assists, helping the Nashville Predators pound the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0 on Saturday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists as Nashville added a dominant performance to its taut 1-0 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night.
Ryan Ellis, Harry Zolnierczyk, Colton Sissons and Kevin Fiala each scored their first career playoff goals.
Game 3 is Monday night in Nashville.
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lineup, inserting rookie Vinnie Hinostroza and Dennis Rasmussen and benching veteran Jordin Tootoo and John Hayden. But it was more of the same for the Blackhawks, who once again looked out of sync against the Predators’ active defence.
Chicago was shut out in consecutive playoff games for the first time since it was blanked in three straight in April, 2002, against St. Louis. It has dropped six in a row dating to the end of the regular season.
The sellout crowd of 22,175 booed as the final seconds of the second period ticked off, and there were more jeers in the third.
The Blackhawks, who finished with a Western Conference-best 109 points this year, took the last four of their five meetings with the Predators during the regular season. They also controlled much of Game 1, outshooting the Predators 29-20, albeit with many of the attempts coming from outside.
But this one was all Nashville, right from the start.
After Richard Panik had a shot go off a post in the opening minute, the Predators began to take over. Ellis’s shot from the high slot was blocked by a sliding Panik, but the defenceman tried again and drove it by Corey Crawford for a 1-0 lead at 3:44.
Viktor Arvidsson, who scored the only goal in Game 1, provided a perfect screen on the play, with Ellis’s shot going between his legs on the way to the net.
The Predators added two more in the second.
Rinne picked up a secondary assist when Mattias Ekholm found Zolnierczyk with a great stretch pass, and the forward shot it off Crawford’s left shoulder for a 2-0 lead at 2:51. The Blackhawks nearly got on the board about 30 seconds later, but captain Jonathan Toews shot it off the right post.
Sissons knocked in his own rebound with 7 minutes left. It was Sissons’s first point since he scored two goals against San Jose on March 25.
NOTES: Predators F Colin Wilson was scratched with a lower-body injury. Wilson had 12 goals and 23 assists this season. ... The Blackhawks went 0 for 2 on the power play.Report Typo/Error