NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Nick Bonino had a natural hat trick, Pekka Rinne made 20 saves for his second consecutive shutout and the Nashville Predators beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-0 on Tuesday night.
Rocco Grimaldi had the primary assist on all three goals for the first three-point game of his career. Craig Smith added two assists for the Predators, winners of four straight.
The struggling Blackhawks have lost five of six.
Bonino’s hat trick was the third of his NHL career and first with the Predators.
After scoring once in each of the first two periods, Bonino buried the rebound of a shot from Grimaldi from just outside Robin Lehner’s crease, prompting fans to shower the ice with hats at 3:40 of the third.
Lehner finished with 48 saves.
Since allowing a third-period goal last Tuesday against Anaheim, Rinne has posted back-to-back shutouts. The winningest Finnish-born goaltender in NHL history has 57 career shutouts.
Bonino scored the first goal at 17:56 of the opening period.
In the high slot, Smith sent a pass to Grimaldi above the left faceoff circle. Grimaldi sent a shot on goal that hit traffic in front. Bonino’s initial attempt was stopped by Lehner, but Bonino was able to swat home the rebound with a backhand while he was falling to the ice.
The Blackhawks were lucky to escape the first down just 1-0 thanks to a strong performance by Lehner. The Predators outshot Chicago 19-6 in the opening period.
Bonino made it 2-0 at 9:03 of the second.
Dante Fabbro’s shot from the right point was blocked in front by Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith. In the slot, Grimaldi’s shot was also blocked by Keith, but the rebound came to Bonino on the left side, where he beat Lehner for the second time.
The shot totals in the second were as lopsided as they were in the first, with Nashville carrying a 21-8 advantage.
NOTES: Nashville LW Filip Forsberg missed his sixth consecutive game with a lower-body injury. … Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook was a healthy scratch for the second straight game. … Nashville is 6-2-1 in its last nine games against the Blackhawks.
Blackhawks: Visit the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.
Predators: Host the Calgary Flames on Thursday.
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