Nashville Predators offense runs dry in 2-0 Chicago loss

After a one-game reprieve in Ottawa Thursday, the offensive problems for the Nashville Predators resumed once again tonight in Chicago. While the Preds mustered 27 shots on goal compared to 34 for the Blackhawks, they couldn't manage to beat Chicago goaltender Cristobal Huet, and lost 2-0.

After the jump, we've got video highlights and a look inside the numbers...



(video might not be available for a few more minutes)

A familiar problem led to the opening pair of goals scored by Chicago, during a 54-second span in the second period. Blackhawks left alone in front of the Nashville net, picking up loose rebounds and banging them home before Dan Ellis could react. As expected given the fact that these two teams are among the least penalized in the league, the only goals in this game came at even strength, a situation in which Chicago has dominated so far this season.

The other issue, of course, was the lack of goal-scoring; while the Chicago broadcasters kept referring to the line of Sullivan-Legwand-Erat as Nashville's best, the truth of the matter is that they generated little offensive pressure at all in this one. For the second straight game, the real heroes up front were Dave Scatchard, Colin Wilson, and Patric Hornqvist, which, as a line, combined for almost half of the Predators' total shots (12 of 27). The Legwand line, on the other hand, combined for 3 shots.

While late in the game Nashville did send a few shots on net with traffic in front (usually Hornqvist), they couldn't capitalize on any of those chances. At every stoppage, Blackhawks players took the opportunity to rough up Nashville forwards trying to work the Chicago goal crease.

The power play also returned to dormancy, going 0-for-3 on the evening.

Ellis had a solid night in the Nashville net, stopping 32 of 34 shots, and the two that did get through he didn't have much chance to save.

Let's take a look Inside the Numbers, focusing on the results from Even Strength play (I'm getting quicker at this):

 Even Strength Individual Totals Team Totals While Player Is On Ice
 Player Pos EV TOI Shots Shts Blkd Missed Shts Blocks SOG For SOG Ag SOG +/- Tot SF Tot SA Corsi
 Shea Weber D 21:07 0 0 2 2 5 12 -7 14 18 -4
 Kevin Klein D 20:38 0 1 1 2 7 8 -1 13 17 -4
 Marcel Goc C 9:25 2 0 0 0 5 12 -7 7 15 -8
 Martin Erat R 13:41 1 0 1 0 1 4 -3 9 8 1
 David Legwand C 13:44 1 0 2 0 2 7 -5 7 12 -5
 Cal O'Reilly C 14:01 1 0 0 0 4 6 -2 11 12 -1
 Ryan Suter D 22:22 0 0 0 2 6 11 -5 15 17 -2
 Jerred Smithson R 7:52 0 0 0 0 2 13 -11 2 16 -14
 Steve Sullivan L 14:37 0 1 2 0 2 7 -5 10 11 -1
 Patric Hornqvist R 17:03 6 1 0 1 15 8 7 18 14 4
 Ryan Jones L 8:05 0 0 0 0 5 12 -7 6 15 -9
 Joel Ward R 13:55 0 0 3 0 3 6 -3 11 12 -1
 Cody Franson D 9:40 3 1 0 0 9 10 -1 11 14 -3
 Colin Wilson C 15:45 3 0 0 0 10 6 4 14 10 4
 Dave Scatchard C 13:49 2 0 0 2 10 7 3 11 13 -2
 Francis Bouillon D 18:20 0 1 1 1 7 10 -3 13 17 -4
 Alexander Sulzer D 13:47 0 0 0 1 8 11 -3 12 17 -5
 J.P. Dumont R 15:30 2 0 1 0 4 5 -1 11 12 -1

Notable results here include the Scatchard-Wilson-Hornqvist line, and the rough night for Goc-Smithson-Jones, who were hemmed in their own end repeatedly.

The Predators conclude this six-game road trip Wednesday in Minnesota.

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