The Chicago Blackhawks looked pretty lifeless last time we saw them, but luckily that was several days ago so the team has had some time to rest. The Hawks host the Nashville Predators on Thursday night at the United Center looking to rebound from that ugly 6-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild in the Stadium Series.
Coming out flat is nothing new for the Hawks, but it was frustrating to watch the team coast through a beatdown on national television Sunday. The defense was often a mess beyond the top line of Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson, which left Chicago fighting from its own end against a speedy Minnesota team for most of the afternoon. The result, despite the best efforts of Corey Crawford and Scott Darling, was a lopsided loss.
Now back home in the comfy, indoor confines of the United Center, the Hawks will look to get back to work improving their seeding out West. The Stars hopped over the Hawks for the top spot in the Central Division with a recent win, though the Hawks remain just behind them with one fewer point in one extra game.
Predators | Record: 29-21-11 | 69 points (nice) | 4th in Central Division
Consistency has often eluded the Predators this season. After a great start out of the gate, the team stumbled before eventually trading Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen. That move did help solidify Nashville up the middle, but team is just 5-3-3 in February.
Pekka Rinne has began playing better of late, posting a .965 save percentage over his past three appearances. That trio of strong performances was preceded by a couple of disastrous ones, but for the Preds, having an effective Rinne will be key to making any sort of noise this year. Otherwise, even if the Preds do manage to slip into the postseason, their trip likely won't be a long one.
It's also unclear if star defenseman Shea Weber will play. He's currently day-to-day with an injury and could miss the game Thursday night.
Blackhawks: Marcus Kruger, Marian Hossa
Predators: Shea Weber, Gabriel Bourque, Eric Nystrom
How to watch
When: 7 p.m. CT
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBCSN, CSN Chicago
Live stream: NBC Sports Live Extra