Preds Throw Haymaker In Game 2 Win

Posted at 10:49 PM, Apr 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-15 23:59:37-04

Having already stolen game one on the road, the Predators went for the haymaker Saturday night in game two and landed it in the form of a 5-0 win that gives them a commanding 2-0 series lead over the heavily favored Blackhawks.

Unlike game one, when Nashville jumped to an early 1-0 lead and then hung on for dear life over the final two periods, the Predators controlled this one throughout. Pekka Rinne stopped 30 more shots and the offense exploded, stunning a crowd of more than 22,000 at the United Center.

The place referred to as the Madhouse on Madison was sheer madness Saturday night as Ryan Ellis, Harry Zolnierczyk and Colton Sissons all scored their first career playoff goals as a team that entered the playoffs as the Western Conference's final wild card built a 3-0 lead.

By the time Ryan Johansen and Kevin Fiala capped the scoring in the third period, many of the red sweatered faithful had headed for the exits.

Rinne, who pitched the first road playoff shutout in franchise history Thursday followed it up with another gem in game two, turning away point blank opportunities throughout to frustrate the normally potent Blackhawks. The 120:00 without a goal allowed to start the series is the longest playoff shutout streak in the franchise's history as well.

With a 1-0 series lead, the Predators expected to get the Blackhawks best effort in game two, but they never let them get going.

For the second time in as many games the Preds jumped to an early lead. Ryan Ellis recovering a Richard Panik blocked shot and firing a shot from the point through a screen from Viktor Arvidsson and into the back of the net just 3:44 into the game.

They kept the pressure on for the rest of the first period, peppering Corey Crawford with 12 shots on goal on the way to the 1-0 lead.

It was the second straight game the Predators held the lead after 20 minutes, something they managed to do just 22 times in 82 regular season games.

And unlike in game one, Nashville kept it's foot on the gas in the second period. Mattias Ekholm making a great two line pass to a streaking Harry Zolnierczyk for a 2-0 lead just 2:51 into the second period.

With the the United Center already groaning, Craig Smith burst into the Hawks' zone and after his initial shot was turned away threw the puck in front of the net where Pontus Aberg chipped it off Crawford and Colton Sissons punched it in for a 3-0 advantage.

Now Nashville sits in a familiar spot, up 2-0 in a series and headed back home. It's the same position they were in a year ago in round one when they promptly lost games three and four at home to the Ducks before winning the series in seven games.

The Preds know they can't let off the gas, the Blackhawks are more than capable of coming back.

On Saturday night, the Preds kept the pedal to the metal and seized control of the series.