Game Preview :

Chicago Blackhawks (20 pts 9-0-2) @ Nashville Predators (14 pts 5-2-4)7 pm Bridgestone Arena - Nashville, TN,TV: CSN ChicagoRadio: WGN 720 AM

The last time the Blackhawks rolled into Nashville with the most points in the NHL bad things happened. I was in the Bridgestone Arena on January 21st of last year. The Blackhawks lost that game 5-2 and it was nearly a month later before the hawks would win another game. Tonight is the final game of the season long 6 game road trip and hellish start to the season with 10 out of the first 12 games on the road. The Hawks can return to Chicago with 22 out of a possible 24 points. Nobody in their right minds could have predicted this start. Tonight's game with the Preds makes me nervous. Nashville's style of play counters what the Blackhawks like to do. The Preds will make it very hard for the Hawks in the neutral zone and will do their best to keep them from using their most dangerous weapon, their team speed. Defenseman Michal Rozsival will return to the Hawks lineup tonight after missing the last seven games with a knee injury. Nick Leddy will not miss any time and will be sporting a full faced cage after the Coyote's last goal went in off his face Thursday night. Corey Crawford will get the start in net as he will try to continue his superb play. Crow is 4-4-1 with a 2.86 GAA, .894 save %, and one shutout in 9 career starts versus Nashville.

The Predators are returning home after losing to the Wild, in Minnesota, 2-1 last night in overtime. As we have seen numerous times already this year, fatigue could be a factor in the 3rd period. The Hawks should just keep trying to get pucks deep and force Nashville to skate. Eventually they will be able to take advantage of a tired team. The Predators will be starting the red hot Pekka Rinne in net tonight. He shutout the Los Angeles Kings, making 32 saves, in his last start on Thursday. Rinne has been solid in his career versus the Hawks with a record of 10-7-1 with a 2.44 GAA, .919 save % and one shutout in 19 games. There is a 4 point swing in standings on the line tonight. Having Nashville 8 points behind us sounds a lot better than 4, doesn't it? Tonight will also be our first look at the Ryan Suter-less Shea Weber. Both Suter and Weber have struggled a bit without their long time partners. Weber on has one assist and is a +1 in his first 11 games without Suter.

Chicago Blackhawks probable lineup:


Brandon Saad - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Dave Bolland - Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell - Andrew Shaw - Viktor Stalberg
Michael Frolik - Marcus Kruger - Jamal Mayers

Defensive Pairings
Duncan Keith - Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya - Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Rozsival - Nick Leddy


Corey Crawford 6-0-2, 1.82 GAA, .930 save %, 0 SO


Daniel Carcillo (knee) OUT

Leading Scorers

P. Kane 18 pts (8 G, 10 A)

M. Hossa 11 pts (6 G, 5 A)

J. Toews 11 pts (5 G, 6 A)

P. Sharp 11 pts (2 G, 9 A)

B. Bickell 7 pts (2 G, 5 A)

Nashville Predators probable lineup:


Sergei Kostitsyn - Mike Fisher - Martin Erat
Colin Wilson - David Legwand - Gabriel Bourque
Brandon Yip - Nick Spaling - Craig Smith
Richard Clune - Paul Gaustad - Matt Halischuk

Defensive Pairings
Scott Hannan - Shea Weber
Hal Gill - Kevin Klein
Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis


Pekka Rinne 4-2-3, 1.81 GAA, .933 save %, 1 SO


Patric Hornqvist (knee) OUT

Leading Scorers

C. Wilson 7 pts (3 G, 4 A)

M. Erat 7 pts (3 G, 4 A)

B. Yip 5 pts (2 G, 3 A)

K. Klein 5 pts (1 G, 4 A)

D. Legwand 4 pts (2 G, 2 A)