Chants of “Lehner, Lehner, Lehner, you suck, all your fault” rang down from the rafters in Bridgestone Arena as the Blackhawks took on the Predators on Tuesday night. But the 3-0 loss was far from Robin Lehner’s fault, as the Blackhawks were badly outpossessed and outplayed from the get go and the goaltender was the only one keeping Chicago in the game.
It was far worse for Chicago than the score indicated. Lehner made 48 saves on 51 shots, and was a huge part of why the penalty kill was a perfect 5-for-5. In fact, the penalty kill, was the only thing that looked somewhat good for the Blackhawks.
The power play, against a penalty kill worse than even the Blackhawks’ (the Predators are operating at a 71.4 percent kill rate) was the exact opposite, not registering a shot in their two opportunities.
Nick Bonino did all the scoring for Nashville, collecting his fourth, fifth and sixth goals on the season. He continued to collect rebounds in the crease all alone, and the Blackhawks just couldn’t find a way to defend what is, when boiled down, a very simple play. All the goals came from essentially the same location and the Blackhawks simply couldn’t clear the crease, or really their zone, at least for extended periods.
After a good team win against the Kings on Sunday, it would have been nice for the Blackhawks to pick up a victory against one of the most dominant teams in the league so far this season, but the Predators proved to be too much. Nashville got 19 shots on goal in the first period and 21 in the second, while the Blackhawks were held to just 14 across 40 minutes. The third period was more of the same.
Jonathan Toews had a 50 percent high-danger share at even strength. Alex DeBrincat had a 50 percent shot share. Thus concludes the list of possession stats and players in them that were anywhere close to 50 percent or better. That’s the kind of game this was.
The Blackhawks defense was bad. The Blackhawks offense was bad. This was a team effort in front of Lehner, just the kind Chicago absolutely does not need.
Brent Seabrook was healthy scratched for the second straight game against Nashville. He’ll likely draw back in against Los Angeles after this loss.
- Nick Bonino (NSH) — 3 goals, 61.5% at the faceoff dot
- Robin Lehner (CHI) —48 saves (9-of-12 high danger saves at even strength), 4.27 xGA
- Pekka Rinne (NSH) — 20-save shutout
The Blackhawks have three days to prepare for a rematch with the Kings on Saturday in Los Angeles.