Nashville at Chicago
When: 8:30 PM
ET, Saturday, October 18, 2014
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Blackhawks attempt to rebound from a head-scratching defeat when they host the Nashville Predators on Saturday night in a matchup of Central Division rivals. Chicago absorbed its first loss in a 2-1 overtime setback to Calgary on Wednesday despite unloading 50 shots on goal, giving the team a staggering total of 97 in its last two games. Defenseman Michal Rozsival is set to make his season debut with the Blackhawks after missing the first three games with an upper-body injury.
Nashville has the unenviable task of attempting to slow down Chicago in the second contest of a back-to-back after posting a 2-0 victory at Winnipeg on Friday night in its first road game. Pekka Rinne registered his 33rd career shutout for the Predators, who have permitted only five goals through the first four games. Nashville finished near the bottom of the division last season but dominated the season series with the Blackhawks, winning four of the five matchups and outscoring them 20-12.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, FSN Tennessee (Nashville), WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (3-0-1): James Neal, acquired from Pittsburgh in a blockbuster offseason trade, failed to hit the scoresheet in the opening three games before finally netting his first goal in Friday's victory. Nashville coach Peter Laviolette elevated Filip Forsberg to the No. 1 line and he picked up an assist on Neal's goal to extend his season-opening points streak to four games. Mike Ribeiro, the other member of the top line, has scored goals in back-to-back games while yet another offseason addition, veteran defenseman Anton Volchenkov, collected a pair of assists Friday for his first two points.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (2-0-1): Andrew Shaw is coming off his first 20-goal campaign and is off a strong start centering the No. 2 line, scoring goals in each of the last two games - including a power-play tally against the Flames. "He’s got a quick set of hands, he finds the puck and he’s tricky offensively with a nice set of mitts," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. The Blackhawks are looking for production from the third line of Brad Richards, Bryan Bickell and Ben Smith, who have yet to register a point and could see their time together coming to an end with Kris Versteeg (lower body) moving closer to a return.
1. Blackhawks G Corey Crawford lost all three starts against Nashville last season, although his team scored four goals in the three defeats.
2. Nashville on Friday was named the host city for the 2016 NHL All-Star game.
3. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has 13 goals and 33 points in 35 games versus Nashville.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Predators 2
Stats and Records