Nick Bonino scored three goals for his third career hat trick, and the Nashville Predators pulled away for a 3-0 win over the visiting Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night.
Pekka Rinne stopped all 20 shots he faced for his second consecutive shutout and the 57th of his career. Nashville improved its season-high winning streak to four games in a row.
The Blackhawks were blanked for the second time in three games. They allowed 51 shots but stayed within reach for the majority of the game because goaltender Robin Lehner made 48 saves, five off his career high.
Rocco Grimaldi assisted on all three of Bonino’s goals. Craig Smith had two assists, and Dante Fabbro had one.
Nashville grabbed a 1-0 lead with 2:04 remaining in the first period. Bonino lost his footing in front of the crease, but he turned to his backhand and slipped a shot past Lehner as he fell to the ice.
Bonino scored again midway through the second period to give Nashville a 2-0 lead. He punched in a loose puck from near the front of the crease.
The hat trick came next for Bonino, who again lingered near the front of the crease and knocked in his third goal at 3:40 of the third period. He watched as a long shot from the blue line deflected off Lehner, and he quickly spotted the rebound and swatted it in for his sixth goal of the season.
Fans littered the ice with hats, which caused a brief stoppage as crews cleaned up the rink. Bonino grinned widely after building upon his first multiple-goal performance since Jan. 15 against the Washington Capitals.
The Predators piled on 40 shots during the first two periods and could have enjoyed a much larger lead if not for great goaltending from Lehner. He made several stops on point-blank attempts in the second period, including a sprawling save to his right to deny Viktor Arvidsson of what appeared to be a surefire goal.
Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. The 34-year-old expressed frustration with the move during a pregame interview with reporters and said he belonged on the ice.
—Field Level Media