The Blackhawks' Tuesday night tilt with the Nashville Predators at the United Center was Chicago's first game without injured star Jonathan Toews, and it showed. The Blackhawks' offense was punchless throughout the night in a 3-1 defeat to the Predators, the team's second straight loss to Nashville. The win moves Nashville into a tie with the 'Hawks in the Western Conference standings. Both teams have 64 points, but Nashville holds a tie-breaker with more victories. The loss drops Chicago to sixth in the conference standings.
Chicago finally found the scoreboard in the third period when Dave Bolland scored his 15th goal of the season on a power play. The score was set-up by Marian Hossa and defenseman Nick Leddy.
Despite a few quality shots on net in the final two minutes, Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne kept Chicago's offense at bay and sealed the victory for the Predators. Nashville would add an empty-net goal by Colin Wilson to reach the final score of 3-1.
The second period didn't feature any scoring, but there were five penalties handed out, three belonging in Chicago. Nashville's Mike Fisher was whistled for two minutes for tripping Patrick Kane early in the period. Niklas Hjalmarsson drew two minutes for slashing and Duncan Keith drew two minutes for interference. The period ended with fight between Nashville's Brandon Yip and Chicago's Steve Montador that resulted in a five minute major for each.
Nashville is out-shooting the Blackhawks 20-17 through two periods. Chicago holds an advantage in hits (18-12) and faceoff wins (25-13).
The Predators scored both of their goals off Chicago giveaways. Craig Smith got Nashville on the board first when he beat Chicago goalie Corey Crawford for his 11th goal off the year. Matt Halischuk was credited with the assist. The Preds made it 2-0 with just 2:30 remaining in the period when Mike Fisher scored his 12th goal of the season off a pass from Patric Harnqvist.
Each team fired 10 shots on net in the first period. The 'Hawks hold an advantage in faceoff wins (12-6) and hits (9-7).
Nashville has won eight of its last nine games. Chicago has won five straight at home, outscoring opponents 23-10 over that span.