Heading into last night’s contest against Nashville, the Blackhawks were looking to build on their dominant win against the Los Angeles Kings. The Hawks did everything right in that game, even if it was against a Kings team that had arrived at 2 a.m. that same day.
There was that much-needed offensive explosion by Dylan Strome and the newly-signed Alex Debrincat, who inked a 3-year, 19.2 million dollar extension. Although out-shot 39-26 in the game, Colliton would praise his team’s improved defense and overall team game in his post-game remarks.
Unfortunately, any mojo the Hawks gained against LA was vanquished by Nashville in last night’s dominant 3-0 loss. The Blackhawks were not only shut out, but were outshot 51-20. In addition to their defensive woes, their problems on the power play would also resurface, going 0-3 in the game and 0-21 in their last six games.
“We were nowhere near where we need to be to have success,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. “There was no push at all throughout the game.”
Predators Center Nick Bonino would record a hat-trick in the game, while Pekka Rinne earned his second consecutive shut-out.
Rinne would make mention of the lone bright spot for the Blackhawks, which was goaltender Robin Lehner. Lehner stopped 48 shots, averaging a .941 save percentage. Without his performance, this game could have been much uglier.
“Look at Lehner, he was on fire,” Rinne said. “He was the only reason this game was reasonable.”
With the exception of Lehner solidifying his number one goalie status, the Hawks once again find themselves looking for answers, both offensively and defensively. The forward lines that Colliton found success with one game prior were easily neutralized by Nashville. In addition, all of Bonino’s goals were scored from in front of the net, exhibiting the defense’s inability to adequately clear the crease.
The loss marks the first of a 4-game road trip for the Blackhawks, which will resume this Saturday against Los Angeles, Anaheim, and San Jose. The loss also marked just the third time in his career that defenseman Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch. Seabrook could draw back into the lineup next game, as his replacement Dennis Gilbert was a -2 last night. The Blackhawks are now 3-6-2 overall.