Chicago at Nashville
When: 8:00 PM
ET, Saturday, April 12, 2014
Where: Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee
The Chicago Blackhawks are still waiting to see who their first-round playoff opponent will be as they prepare to visit the Nashville Predators in their regular-season finale. The Blackhawks had the look of a team with nothing on the line Friday night, turning in a lackluster performance in a 4-0 loss at Washington that snapped a four-game winning streak. The Blackhawks have lost three of four meetings to the Predators this season, including a 7-2 drubbing in Nashville on Nov. 16.
Chicago's Patrick Sharp, who had a three-game goal-scoring streak snapped Friday night, expects his club to put forth a better effort against the Predators despite no obvious motivation. "It doesn't matter what’s on the line," said Sharp, who leads the Blackhawks with 34 goals. "It’s important that we show up and play, wearing the 'Hawks jersey." Nashville has adopted that approach down the stretch, going 4-0-1 in its last five games and 7-1-2 in the past 10.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBC Sports, WGN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (46-20-15): Star defenseman Duncan Keith got the night off Friday and other players are expected to be rested Saturday for Chicago, which continues to play with injured captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Corey Crawford was pulled after two periods Friday in favor of Antti Raanta, who is expected to be in net against the Predators. Raanta lost in regulation only once in his first 16 appearances this season (12-1-3), but he has stumbled down the stretch with only one win since Jan. 12 while allowing 18 goals in his last five starts.
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (36-32-12): Nashville coach Barry Trotz lauded his team for refusing to roll over during a stretch run that included victories over Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix - all teams with something for which to play. "This group, as I have been saying all year, has a lot of character," Trotz said. "There's only one way to play, and that's play the right way. This group plays the right way." Patric Hornqvist has been sensational over the past three weeks, scoring eight goals to go with seven assists in his last nine goals to put him within a point of his career-best 51.
1. The Blackhawks are only 3-for-33 on the power play over the past 11 games.
2. Predators G Pekka Rinne has two shutouts in his last six starts, including a 2-0 win at Chicago on March 23.
3. Chicago was blanked for the fourth time this season Friday, all without Kane in the lineup.
PREDICTION: Predators 4, Blackhawks 2
Stats and Records