The Nashville Predators grinded out at hard fought win against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Sunday night. Pekka Rinne recorded his first shutout of the season against the Blackhawks, who outshot Nashville 29-17, despite losing 2-0. With the loss, Chicago was unable to secure their third straight win and failed to keep pace with the Central division-leading St. Louis Blues. The most troubling statistic that came from the loss on Sunday to Nashville is that now 12 of Chicago’s 16 regulation losses have come against Central division opponents, including three out of four against the Predators.
The Blackhawks certainly didn’t go down without a fight against Nashville, as both teams played physically throughout the entire game. The Predators fought through 4 penalties against them, including a double minor, to blank out the #1 scoring team in the league, which is a pretty impressive feat. Chicago is 0-9 in the past two games on the power play and it appears that their power play unit is struggling to cope with life without star winger Patrick Kane. The team has also missed hulking forward Bryan Bickell, who is still nursing an upper-body injury.
The team will have to deal with the many injuries that have plagued them recently and start finding more creative ways to put the puck in the net. Nashville is a divisional opponent that has let up a lot of goals this season and is in no way a team that should be shutting down one of the most powerful offenses in the NHL. The Blackhawks will stay at home to face the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Perhaps Joel Quenneville will shuffle the lines around a little bit to create a spark within his offense. One thing is for sure: Chicago certainly doesn’t want to start a habit of losing to lower-ranked opponent’s right before the playoffs start. Therefore, something has to change quickly in the Windy City.