Game Preview : And Down The Stretch They Come

USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks (70 pts 33-5-4) vs Nashville Predators (37 pts 15-22-7) 7:30 pm United Center - Chicago, IL TV: CSN Chicago (NBCSN) Radio: WIND 560 AM

Season Series

Date Score W. Goal
Apr 19 '13
Apr 07 '13 NSH 3 at CHI 5 J. Toews
Apr 06 '13 CHI 1 at NSH 0 B. Bickell
Apr 01 '13 NSH 2 at CHI 3 - SO M. Rozsival
Feb 10 '13 CHI 3 at NSH 0 M. Kruger

The Blackhawks start their final run to the playoffs tonight, as they will play their last 6 games between now and next Saturday night in St Louis. The Hawks can extend their winning streak to seven and sweep the season series from the Nashville Predators. Patrick Sharp is going to miss another game due to his upper body injury but could return next week in either Vancouver or Edmonton. Ray Emery will miss tonight's game with a lower body injury. Carter Hutton, who was recalled from Rockford yesterday, will backup Corey Crawford tonight. Does Hutton get his first career start tomorrow if Emery can't go? To tell you the truth, I would like to see it. It's a no pressure situation, why not see what he's got to offer? Besides, do you really want you #1 playoff goalie, and yes Crow will be the postseason starter, going on back to back nights? Michal Rozsival will also miss tonight's game due to a "minor" upper body injury. Tonight is Pat Foley Night at the UC, as the Blackhawks will honor Foley for his 30 years in the broadcast booth. I am glad I am watching this one from home, not only because I hate Friday night crowds, but I can't wait to hear some of his great calls from years past. As much as I like to rag on Pat, he has been a huge part of sports life for as long as I can remember, and he deserves his moment.

Everybody make sure you have that extra cup of coffee, energy drink or dose of Vivarin (is Vivarin still a thing?) because the Predators brand of boring hockey would even put Andy Dick, in the midst of a coke binge, to sleep. It was one thing to deal with their neutral zone trap when they were a solid team, but this team is pure hot garbage right now. They have been eliminated from the playoff race and have cashed in their chips. It's got to be difficult for a team that has the #1 seed already in hand to get up for a game against Nashville. We will see what kind of intensity the Hawks come out with tonight. And if the Preds should happen to win tonight, please I beg of you, nobody say anything dumb on Twitter, is that too much to ask? Who I am kidding, that is way too much to ask!

Probable Blackhawks lineup

Forwards

Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Dan Carcillo - Dave Bolland - Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Viktor Stalberg
Marcus Kruger - Michal Handzus - Michael Frolik

Defensive Pairings

Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Nick Leddy - Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya - Sheldon Brookbank

Goaltender

Corey Crawford 17-4-4, 1.92 GAA, .926 save %, 3 SO

Injuries

Patrick Sharp (upper body) OUT, Ray Emery (lower body) OUT, Michal Rozsival (upper body) OUT

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
P. Kane 42 20 27 47 14 6 8 2
J. Toews 42 21 23 44 27 25 2 4
M. Hossa 35 16 12 28 17 14 3 5
B. Saad 41 9 15 24 16 8 0 2
D. Keith 42 2 21 23 18 31 1 0

Probable Predators lineup

Fowards

Sergei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Craig Smith
Taylor Beck - David Legwand - Filip Forsberg
Richard Clune - Chris Mueller - Matt Halischuk
Daniel Bang - Austin Watson - Bobby Butler

Defensive Pairings

Roman Josi - Shea Weber
Victor Bartley - Hal Gill
Mattias Ekholm - Jonathon Blum

Goaltender

Pekka Rinne 14-16-7, 2.35 GAA, .914 save %, 5 SO

Injuries

Kevin Klein (undisclosed) questionable, Brandon Yip (lower body) questionable, Mike Fisher (hand) questionable, Patric Hornqvist (upper body) OUT

Leading Scorers

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP GW
D. Legwand 44 11 12 23 -5 20 2 2
S. Weber 44 8 15 23 -1 46 3 1
M. Fisher 36 9 10 19 5 27 1 0
C. Wilson 25 7 12 19 1 4 2 1
R. Josi 44 5 12 17 -6 8 1 1


NSH Stats CHI
44 GP 42
15 W 33
21 L 5
8 OT 4
38 P 70
0.432 P% 0.833
2.23 G/G 3.17
2.66 GA/G 1.98
17 PP% 15.4
76.9 PK% 86.1
26 S/G 31.2
27.3 SA/G 26
50.4 FO% 50.8

Chicago Blackhawks tickets

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