7:00 PM CT – Blackhawks (43-26-9) @ Predators (45-25-8)
Players to watch:
CHI- Patrick Kane
Kane, who has 25 points in 30 career games against Nashville, couldn’t have been pleased with what he said would be a statement performance last Sunday.
NSH- Shea Weber
In what could potentially be a third statement win in less than a week, the Preds need Weber to come out like gangbusters and dominate like he’s capable of doing.
CHI- Corey Crawford (2011-12 stats: 28-17-6, 2.75 GAA)
NSH- Pekka Rinne (2011-12 stats: 42-17-8, 2.40 GAA)
CHI- Ray Emery (upper body, probable), Jonathan Toews and Steve Montador (concussion, out), Dan Carcillo (knee, out), Sami Lepisto (leg, out)
Keys to the game:
CHI- Confident Crawford… The Blackhawks need Crawford to be on his A-game tonight – or at least better than he has been against the Preds this season. In four games against the Preds, Crawford boasts an .835 save percentage and 4.20 GAA, and has been pulled twice. Chicago will need a confident Crawford between the pipes tonight.
NSH- Carryover the mojo… In the ‘biggest game of the year’, the Preds showed up in a big way last night by beating Detroit, 4-1, in convincing fashion. But they can’t afford a letdown tonight. They are facing a determined Chicago team that has something to prove. The Preds will need to carryover the momentum from last night’s win to beat the ‘Hawks a fifth time.
Numbers to know:
- The Preds are 24-9-5 at home this season … Chicago is 16-18-4 on the road.
- The Preds are 16-4-3 against the Central Division this season … Chicago is 14-6-2.
- This is the sixth and final meeting of the season. The Preds have won four of the first five contests, including this past Sunday in Chicago.
- The Preds have also won four of their previous five home games against the Blackhawks. The last time the Preds won every home game against Chicago in a single season was 2005-06.
- The Preds are 5-5-0 in the second game of back-to-backs this season; they won at Detroit last night.
- Pekka Rinne is 10-6-1 with a 2.28 GAA and .923 save percentage in 18 career games vs. the Blackhawks. His likely counterpart, Corey Crawford, is 3-4-1 with a 2.71 GAA and .897 save percentage in 8 career games vs. Nashville.
- Power play rankings: Nashville (21.5%, 1st) … Chicago (15.2%, 16th)
- Penalty kill: Nashville (83.4%, 10th) … Chicago (78.8%, 26th)