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Blackhawks vs. Predators: Brad Richards returns, Michal Rozsival out

Chicago host Central Division Showdown in Patrick Sharp's 700th NHL game.

Patrick Sharp will play his 700th NHL game tonight.
Patrick Sharp will play his 700th NHL game tonight.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Brad Richards will return to the ice and Corey Crawford will start as the Chicago Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators for a Central Division showdown Monday at the United Center.

Blackhawks' defenseman Michal Rozsival will not play, but is expected to be back for the Winter Classic on New Year's Day in Washington.

A regulation win by Nashville would put the Blackhawks and Predators in a tie for the division lead at 50 points, but the Predators hold a tiebreaker having played two fewer games.

The Blackhawks have won two of three meetings against Nashville this season and tonight's matchup marks the season series finale. The Predators, however, are 4-1-1 over the last six outings against Chicago, but the Blackhawks have won four of the past meetings at the Madhouse on Madison.

Chicago posted a 5-2 win in Colorado behind a three-point night from Patrick Kane, who netted two goals and an assist to help the Blackhawks bounce back from Tuesday's 5-1 setback against Winnipeg at home.

Kane ranks fifth in the league with 18 goals and sixth in points with 39.

Brandon Saad, Brent Seabrook and Patrick Sharp all scored and Jonathan Toews added two assists for the Blackhawks. Crawford stopped 23 of the 25 shots he faced for the victory. Tonight will be Sharp's 700th NHL game.

Richards, who recorded six goals and 12 assists in 33 games, skated on the second line with Kris Versteeg and Kane. Daniel Carcillo skated with the third line alongside Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw while Sharp was moved to the fourth line with Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith.

Crawford is 8-7-1 with a 2.69 goals-against average against the Predators.

Opponent Breakdown: Nashville Predators

Nashville have won four of its last five games, including a 4-1 win Saturday in the Music City over Peter Laviolette's old club the Philadelphia Flyers. The Predators converted three of five power-play chances while killing off all four of Philadelphia's.

Pekka Rinne stopped 26 shots for the victory, and Colin Wilson tallied twice for the Predators. Filip Forsberg and Mike Fisher each had a goal and an assist.

Forsberg leads the Predators with a team-high 14 goals and 20 assists. The Swedish forward has averaged 11 points in the past 10 games while the Predators have gone 7-3-0 to climb up the standings.

Paul Gaustad will return for the Predators after missing six games with a lower-body injury.

Rinne has started 30 of 34 games for the Predators, he leads the league with 23 wins and ranks second in GAA with 1.81 and save percentage with .935. He went 1-0-1 in two of the three match ups against the Blackhawks earlier this season. The Finnish goaltender is 14-11-3 with a 2.49 GAA in his career against Chicago.

Injury Report

Chicago: Rozsival (lower-body) and Trevor vanRiemsdyk (knee)

Nashville: Anton Volchenkov (lower-body)

Game Information

When: 7:30 p.m. CT

Where: United Center


Radio: WGN-720

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