Blackhawks vs. Predators: Recap

Which storyline do you even start with?

Credit: Mark Humphrey/AP Photo

Do you choose Nick Bonino's natural hat trick? Rocco Grimaldi's three assists? Pekka Rinne's second consecutive shutout? The offensive hellfire the Predators collectively rained down in tonight's 3-0 win against the arch-rival Blackhawks? Please tell me, I honestly have no idea.

There's always something truly sublime that ripples through the air when the Preds beat Chicago. The Preds outshot the Hawks 51-20 tonight; Robin Lehner had to literally stand on his head to not allow the Preds any more goals. I almost felt bad for the guy, but then I remembered he plays for the Blackhawks. The Bonino-Grimaldi line combined for all three of Nashville's goals. The only negative thing to say is that the Preds went 0 for 5 on the power play.

Considering that the Preds outshot the Hawks 19-6 in the first period alone, it would have been frustrating had Bonino not finally slipped one by Lehner with two minutes remaining in the frame. In mid-fall with Lehner already on his rear, Bonino picked up the rebound from Grimaldi's one-timer and backhanded it underneath Lehner's outstretched arm. Craig Smith tallied the secondary assist. The first period was often played in transition, but the Preds dominated possession time.

The second period brought even more puck domination by the Preds, outshooting the Blackhawks 21-8. Bonino, once again, took advantage. Swatting a bouncing puck on the doorstep, Bonino connected and got his second of the night on Lehner. Grimaldi and Dante Fabbro notched the assists.

Ladies and gentlemen, Nicholas Bones for the hat trick. With a classic center move three minutes into the final period, Bonino lifted another Grimaldi rebound over Lehner's stick to make the hats fly. Smith combined to get the secondary assist.

Bonino finished the night with three goals on nine shots. Rinne completed his second consecutive shutout (the 4-0 win against Minnesota on Thursday was the first) and has stopped the last 73 of 74 shots he's faced, including the Anaheim game last Tuesday. Mikael Granlund played a quietly great game, establishing several successful zone entries and exits and recording seven shots of his own. Every single Preds defenseman finished the game with a +1 rating.

Soundly defeating Chicago just feels great, am I right?

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