7:00 PM CT – Chicago Blackhawks (9-0-2) @ Nashville Predators (5-2-4)
TV: FS Tennessee
Radio: 102.5 The Game
Last time out:
CHI- Thursday night the Blackhawks were all over the Phoenix Coyotes, scoring four goals in the first period and finishing with a 6-2 victory to push their record to a league-best 9-0-2. Patrick Kane recorded two goals and an assist in the win. The ‘Hawks have spent the last two days in Nashville.
NSH- The Predators picked up a point last night in Minnesota, although they feel they should have gotten the win. Paul Gaustad, Nashville’s lone goal-scorer, was whistled for a controversial penalty that led to the Wild’s 2-1 overtime victory. Chris Mason made 30 saves, while the team’s power play went 0-for-6.
Players to watch:
CHI- Marian Hossa
Hossa, who has gotten off to a hot start this season, burned the Predators in 2011-12 with 8 points in 6 meetings.
NSH- Ryan Ellis
The second-year defenseman has held his own thus far this season, with four points in 11 games. Ellis also scored a game-winning goal against Chicago last season.
Projected starting goaltenders:
CHI- Corey Crawford (2012-13 stats: 6-0-2, 1.82 GAA)
NSH- Pekka Rinne (2012-13 stats: 4-2-3, 1.81 GAA)
Projected lineups from last game/practice:
|Brandon Saad||Jonathan Toews||Marian Hossa|
|Patrick Sharp||Dave Bolland||Patrick Kane|
|Bryan Bickell||Andrew Shaw||Viktor Stalberg|
|Michael Frolik||Marcus Kruger||Jamal Mayers|
|Duncan Keith||Brent Seabrook||Corey Crawford|
|Johnny Oduya||Niklas Hjalmarsson||Ray Emery|
|Nick Leddy||Sheldon Brookbank|
|Sergei Kostitsyn||Mike Fisher||Martin Erat|
|Gabriel Bourque||David Legwand||Colin Wilson|
|Craig Smith||Nick Spaling||Brandon Yip|
|Richard Clune||Paul Gaustad||Matt Halischuk|
|Scott Hannan||Shea Weber||Pekka Rinne|
|Roman Josi||Kevin Klein||Chris Mason|
|Hal Gill||Ryan Ellis|
*Lineups are subject to change
CHI- Dan Carcillo (knee, out), Steve Montador (concussion, out)
NSH- Patric Hornqvist (knee, out)
Keys to the game:
CHI- Win special teams battle… Dating back to their contest in Los Angeles on Jan. 31, the Predators have surrendered just one even-strength goal in five games. Though the Blackhawks’ firepower could change that, Pekka Rinne has been dynamite between the pipes of late. That means Joel Quenneville’s bunch has to at least win the battle on special teams, where they possess an advantage with the top-ranked penalty kill.
NSH- Rinne’s A-game… Less than 24 hours after a tough loss in Minnesota, it will be difficult for the Predators to outplay a rested Blackhawks team that comes into tonight leading the league in points (20). This may be a game the Predators lean on Rinne to come up big. He did shut out Los Angeles on Thursday, but he didn’t steal the win for his team – something he may have to do tonight. Anything short of Rinne’s A-game could spell trouble.
Numbers to know:
- 2011-12 season series vs. Chicago: 4-1-1 Predators
- The Preds are 1-0-2 at home this season … Chicago is 4-2-0 on the road.
- The Preds have won 4 of their last 6 home games against the Blackhawks.
- Last season the Preds were 5-5-0 in the second half of back-to-backs, and are 1-0-0 this season. They lost 2-1 in Minnesota last night.
- Pekka Rinne is 10-7-1 with a 2.44 GAA and .919 save percentage in 19 career games vs. Chicago. His counterpart, Corey Crawford, is 4-4-1 with a 2.86 GAA and .894 save percentage in 9 career games vs. Nashville.
- David Legwand tallied 9 points in 6 games vs. Chicago last season.
- Power play: Nashville (15.8%, 21st) … Chicago (19.2%, 16th)
- Penalty kill: Nashville (81.0%, 14th) … Chicago (92.7%, 1st)
On Jan. 15, 2011, the Predators trailed Chicago 2-1 in the third period, but were making a push to tie the game. At a TV timeout, Smashville gave the team their patented ovation, which was immediately followed by a blast from Shea Weber that eluded Crawford, sending the arena into a frenzy. The Preds won the game 3-2 in a shootout…