CHICAGO (AP) – Antti Niemi made 23 saves for a shutout in his second career playoff game, Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane scored and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Nashville Predators, 2-0, on Sunday night to tie the first-round series 1-1.
Games 3 and 4 are Tuesday and Thursday nights in Nashville.
After giving up two third-period goals in a 4-1 loss in Game 1, Niemi was sharp from the outset Sunday. The rookie had seven shutouts during the regular season.
Nashville's Pekka Rinne made 31 saves, giving up a power-play score to Bolland in the second period and Kane's goal on a 3-on-1 break in the third.
On the power play, Jonathan Toews took a pass in traffic in front of the net from Kane and then in turn found Bolland in the left circle and his backhander gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 8:44 of the second.
It was the fifth career playoff goal for Bolland, who scored six goals and played only 39 games this season after back surgery.
Rinne made a sprawling save minutes later on another power play, stopping a shot by Marian Hossa to keep the Blackhawks' lead at that point to a single goal.
The Predators, who had the fewest penalty minutes per game of any team in the NHL this season, were called for three straight in the second period.
Kane came down on the 3-on-1 break -- one of the few breaks the Blackhawks have had in the first two games against Nashville's tough defense -- held the puck on his stick as if he might pass and then rifled it past Rinne on the stick side for a 2-0 lead with more 4 minutes elapsed in the final period.
Niemi made two quick saves on good chances by against Dustin Boyd -- one with his right pad -- early in the second period to keep it scoreless. And then he stopped a hard slapper from Marcel Goc early in the third before Kane increased the lead to two.
Chicago's best first-period scoring chance came when Marian Hossa made a nice pass across the crease to Toews. But with Rinne leaning to one side and the net partially open, Toews hit the crossbar with his shot.
Bolland knocked the puck in the net 42 seconds later, but it was disallowed because it came after the whistle when Rinne went to his knees to cover it up. That prompted a loud profane cheer from the crowd at the United Center.
The Blackhawks had a 13-5 shots edge in the first period but couldn't convert. The Predators went on two power plays but couldn't solve Niemi.
NOTES: The Predators won the the first game of their 2006 series with San Jose and then lost four straight. ... The Blackhawks have a 16-39 series record when losing the first game.