Predators route Blackhawks 5-0

Nashville Predators v Washington Capitals

It was the Blackhawks' best odd-man rush by far. This wasn't the brand of National Hockey League excellence Chicago has become accustomed to seeing the past nine straight postseasons.

The team has only managed 59 shots on goal in the two games of the series, and while that fits in line with their average of just over 30 shots on goal per game during the regular season, the fact remains that the Blackhawks are not getting scoring chances from risky areas of the ice, and they're making life way too easy on Pekka Rinne by not getting traffic to the front of the net. Can we form a search party for No. 19?

"I've said it before, I think we play defense as a team awesome well", Rinne said after game two.

Nobody in town will argue.

Aside from shaking up lines and pairings, there are not a lot of options for Coach Q. Benching Crawford would undoubtedly send a message to his team.

Not only are the Maple Leafs going home for the first playoff game in Toronto since 2013, they also might get top-pairing defenseman Nikita Zaitsev back after missing the first two with an upper-body injury. Those guys won't beat anybody that way.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Chicago Blackhawks know one thing with an absolute certainty: They must play better.

Inexplicable. Inexcusable. Embarrassing. All the words apply.

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"That was frustration to a different level", Quenneville said. "It's what we aren't". Jonathan Toews only had one shot on goal despite playing over 20 minutes. It's the overall play which has been the problem, and regardless of lineup, that has to change on Monday night. It's wonderful how quiet 22,175 fans can be when they're all trying to figure out what just happened.

Mitch Marner and Jake Gardiner scored in the first period for Toronto, back in the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

Slowly, the situation worsened. The Predators shut down the Hawks with their deep blue line. With two assists, Pekka Rinne now has more points than the entire Chicago team. Getzlaf's power play goal, which came with 4:46 left in the third period, was his second of the series. This was the opposite of what everyone expected, especially the Hawks.

Colton Sissons? Seeing Craig Smith dipsy-doodle his way into the offensive zone, Sissons forced his way past Blackhawks forward Dennis Rasmussen, parked in front of Crawford and buried a rebound off a Pontus Aberg shot.

Let's not blame this 0-2 deficit completely on the Hawks' play, Nashville's Pekka Rinne has been phenomenal. Not a single bounce has gone in Chicago's favor so far this series, but the odds of Rinne earning four straight shutouts to and close out the Hawks is highly astronomical.

Not unraveling in a tough atmosphere, the young Maple Leafs showed they belonged on the same ice with the Capitals after losing Game 1 in OT. Game 1 was easy to write off. Quenneville rarely practices during the playoffs, but called one Friday to solve the Predators' neutral-zone trap. His 6'5 frame perfectly positioned between the pipes all night, turning the Hawks away 30 more times including several grade A saves on good scoring chances. Despite a 4-1 record against the Predators during the regular season, the Blackhawks managed a Corsi for of 46.3 percent, shots for percentage of 44.2 percent, managed only 44.4 percent of the scoring chances and a mere 35.8 percent of the high-danger chances at 5-on-5.

Predictably, Quenneville juggled his line combinations. It was Nashville's second playoff win in Chicago in seven tries.

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