NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The Blackhawks are so very ready to be back in Chicago, and they only want to make themselves as at home at the United Center as they have everywhere else during their season-high six-game road trip.
Marcus Kruger and Jonathan Toews each scored 66 seconds apart in the second period, and the Chicago Blackhawks remained the NHL's lone undefeated team in regulation by beating the Nashville Predators 3-0 Sunday night.
"We've done some good things on this road trip," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We want to carry that momentum back home. It's going to be difficult to be back home, so we're excited now to get home and play as hard and take that energy back we have on the road back home."
Patrick Kane also added a goal in the third as the Blackhawks wrapped up this trip with their fourth straight win and improved to 10-0-2 overall and 8-0-2 away from Chicago. The Blackhawks now get to play just their third game at home Tuesday night against Anaheim when they start a seven-game homestand.
"I think we're all excited to get home and sleep in our own beds," Keith said. "It's going to be good. It's going to be exciting to play in front of our fans and play hard for them."
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said they've talked about not wanting to change anything.
"We don't want to feel like we're at home now and let the air out," he said.
Goalie Corey Crawford got Chicago's first shutout of the season and the sixth of his career making 17 saves. The shutout ended a long drought for Chicago and especially Crawford whose last shutout in the regular season was March 23, 2011.
"However long, it was too long, and it was nice to get that for sure," Keith said.
With his teammates blocking 14 shots, Crawford had plenty of time to drift, especially for about a 21-minute span over the final half of the first period and midway to the second when he didn't face a single shot. Asked when he was aware of how close he was to a shutout, Crawford said he knew with about 5 minutes left.
"I didn't want to think about it too much, but I knew about it," Crawford said.
Nashville lost a 2-1 overtime game at Minnesota on Saturday night. Back home to start a four-game homestand, the Predators had their 17th consecutive sold-out crowd. But the Predators reverted back to their early offensive woes struggling to shoot the puck at the net.
Coach Barry Trotz said his Predators were a little tired, but didn't work hard enough to get pucks up to the net.
They missed their best chance at scoring when Nick Spaling's backhander sent the puck sliding across the crease before hitting off the far post at 10:02 of the first period. Nashville managed only three shots on goal in the first.
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