CHICAGO — Pekka Rinne made 30 saves in his second straight shutout and picked up two assists, helping the Nashville Predators pound the Chicago Blackhawks 5-0 on Saturday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Ryan Johansen had a goal and two assists as Nashville added a dominant performance to its taut 1-0 victory in Game 1 on Thursday night.
Ryan Ellis, Harry Zolnierczyk, Colton Sissons and Kevin Fiala each scored their first career playoff goal.
Game 3 is Monday night in Nashville.
Chicago Coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lineup, inserting rookie Vinnie Hinostroza and Dennis Rasmussen, and benching veteran Jordin Tootoo and John Hayden. But it was more of the same for the Blackhawks, who once again looked out of sync against the Predators’ active defense.
BLUE JACKETS: Forward Matt Calvert was suspended by the NHL’s department of player safety for Game 3 against Pittsburgh on Sunday because of his cross-check to Tom Kuhnhackl late in the third period of Game 2.
Calvert received a minor penalty when he chased down Kuhnhackl away from the play and hit the Penguins’ forward in the shoulder with his stick, which broke in the process. Calvert then turned and knocked down Kuhnhackl with a body check.
DUCKS: Anaheim reassigned left wing Ondrej Kase to its AHL affiliate in San Diego, likely clearing room for Nick Ritchie to make his playoff debut.
Ritchie just completed a two-game suspension for punching Chicago’s Michal Rozsival in the next-to-last game of the regular season.
SIDNEY CROSBY and the defending champion Penguins have looked impressive in jumping out to a 2-0 lead against the Blue Jackets.
The same is true for the Blues, who earned two 2-1 wins on the road for a two-game edge over Minnesota, with the series shifting to St. Louis.
And the Rangers were 18 seconds away from joining them until Tomas Plekanec tied Game 2 late in the third period before Alexander Radulov won it for the Canadiens to tie that series at a game apiece going into Game 3 at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night.
“Every time you win you kind of change the momentum,” Plekanec said. “You feel better about yourself and your game.
“But it’s just one game. We have to get better because we haven’t played a great game yet.”