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Blackhawks vs. Predators game preview: Take two for Antti Raanta

Chicago travels to the Music City for the second match-up against Nashville this season.

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks drop the puck for the second time in just six days against Central Division foe Nashville on the road at the Bridgestone Arena.

Neither Nashville or Chicago have suffered a regulation loss this season, but first-year Predators coach Peter Laviolette's team does hold an early division lead with 10 points and a 4-0-2 record. The Hawks are one point behind with a 4-0-1 mark.

In the last meeting, Chicago skated away with a 2-1 overtime victory with a shorthanded game-winner in overtime by captain Jonathan Toews at the United Center. Backup Carter Hutton was in net for Nashville and made 35 saves. The victory snapped a three-game skid in the series for the Hawks. Nashville has won four of six overall against the Hawks and two of the past three contests in the Music City.

Chicago recorded a second straight win on Tuesday, ending a four-game home stand with a 4-0 shutout win over the Philadelphia Flyers with backup Antti Raanta stopping 32 shots in his first start of the season. Raanta notched his second career shutout and improved to 14-5-4 in 26 career appearances. He will get the start again tonight with starter Corey Crawford not making the two-game road trip to Nashville and St. Louis due to an upper-body injury. The Finnish net minder went 1-1-0 in two starts against the Predators last season. The lost came when Toews and Patrick Kane were out with injuries in mid-April.

The Hawks recalled Scott Darling from their AHL affiliate Rockford to back up Raanta while Crawford recovers.

Opponent Breakdown: Nashville Predators

Nashville started their three-game home stand with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. Ryan Ellis had a goal and two assists in regulation and scored the game-winner in the shootout. Mike Ribeiro and James Neal also scored for Nashville. Perennial Vezina trophy candidate Pekka Rinne made 33 saves in the win.

Neal has 12 points (7G, 5A) in 15 career games against the Hawks and line mate Riberio is on a four-game point streak.

The Predators' top defenseman, Shea Weber, tallied Nashville's only goal in their loss to the Blackhawks last Saturday. He also has scored 14 career goals against the Hawks, the most against any opponent.


The Blackhawks will again be without goaltender Corey Crawford, who's still recovering from nagging injuries and didn't travel on the current road trip.

The Predators still don't have Matt Cullen, who's on IR, and Mike Fisher. Both guys reportedly skated with the team Thursday morning, but aren't expected to be in the lineup tonight.

Game information

When: 7 p.m. CT

Where: Bridgestone Arena


Radio: WGN-720

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