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Blackhawks 3, Predators 0

The SportsXchange

By Bucky Dent

The Sports Xchange

NASHVILLE -- Chicago remains the only National Hockey League team without a regulation loss.

Marcus Kruger, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored goals as the Blackhawks dominated Nashville Sunday night in a 3-0 shutout at Bridgestone Arena.

Corey Crawford upped his record to 7-0-2 in goal, turning away a measly 17 shots for his first shutout this year. Chicago (10-0-2) now owns a league-best 22 points and finished a season-long six-game road trip with a 4-0-2 mark, losing only in consecutive overtime games against Minnesota and Vancouver.

Meanwhile, the Predators (5-3-4) lost for the second straight evening and looked like a team working the second end of a back-to-back series. They rarely mustered a territorial edge against an opponent which hadn't played since routing Phoenix 6-2 Thursday night.

At one point, the Blackhawks boasted a 15-3 advantage in shots on goal. Nashville went nearly 21 minutes of game time -- the last 9:56 of the first period and the first 9:04 of the second period -- without testing Crawford.

Pekka Rinne kept the Predators on even ground for more than a period, but Chicago beat him twice in a 66-second span of the second stanza. Kruger snapped a 40-foot wrist shot past the Finnish goalie at 6:14 for his second goal of the year.

Toews made it 2-0 at 7:20, deflecting Duncan Keith's slapper past Rinne for his sixth goal. With Nashville unable to consistently mount any kind of attack, the margin seemed bigger.

Kane tacked on insurance at 4:27 of the third period, wristing a shot from an extreme angle on the left wing past Rinne. Other than that goal, Rinne played a decent game, finishing with 24 saves.

Crawford preserved his shutout by stoning Mike Fisher and David Legwand on a couple of point-blank attempts later in the third period.

NOTES: This was the first of a four-game homestand for Nashville, which played eight of its first 11 games on the road. Chicago, which has played 10 of its first 12 away from the United Center, starts a five-game homestand Tuesday night against Anaheim ... The Predators and Blackhawks won't see each other again until April, but will play four times in an 18-day span, starting on the 1st ... Nashville's Patric Hornqvist is out for another week or two with a knee sprain sustained on Jan. 26 at Anaheim ... Entering this game, Chicago led the league in goals on the road with 33 and is second in the NHL with seven power play goals away from home.
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