NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When the Blackhawks left on their 12-day, six-game trip, they didn’t have a loss in regulation. After completing the arduous journey, they still don’t.
The Hawks concluded their season-long odyssey as the only team in the NHL without a regulation defeat after they stymied the Predators 3-0 behind goaltender Corey Crawford on Sunday night at Bridgestone Arena.
The Hawks completed their most difficult travel portion of the season with a 4-0-2 record after reeling off their fourth consecutive win, and stand at 10-0-2 on the season. They also upped their record away from home to 8-0-2.
Marcus Kruger, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored, and Crawford made 17 saves to record the Hawks’ first regular-season shutout since he did it March 23, 2011. Crawford also had one April 21, 2011, in the playoffs against the Canucks.
“It feels good to finally get [a shutout],” said Crawford, who earned the sixth of his career. “Our guys played a great game overall. That was just a solid, solid road win for us. It seems like we just didn’t make any mistakes out there.”
A seven-game homestand now awaits the Hawks as they set their sights on the NHL record of 16 games to start a season with at least one point, set by the Ducks in 2006 when they raced to a 12-0-4 mark.
“This team has worked really hard,” Crawford said. “[But] we’re not just working hard, we’re playing a really skilled game. When we get chances, we make the best of it. Everyone’s playing well right now.”
Added Duncan Keith, who had an assist on Toews’ goal in the second period to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead: “We’ve done a good job of just staying in the moment. We want to carry that momentum back home.”
Kruger put the Hawks on the board when Predators defenseman Roman Josi kicked the puck right to his stick and he rifled a low shot that sailed past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne. The score at the 6-minute, 14-second mark of the second period was the first even-strength goal allowed by Rinne in 316:40, dating back to Jan. 28.
Just 1:06 later, Toews made it 2-0 when a rising shot by Keith hit him popped up and over Rinne.
In the third, Kane sent a low rocket from a wide angle to the left of Rinne, and it slid past the goalie to extend Kane’s goal-scoring streak to five games.
“It was a great trip from start to finish,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “[Sunday night] I was really pleased with the way we started and finished the game. Everybody contributed, and it was nice to see Crawford get the shutout and end it on a very positive note.”