Skip to main content

Blackhawks aim to rebound in Predators' home finale

by John Kreiser

BLACKHAWKS (46-20-15) at PREDATORS (36-32-12)


Last 10: Chicago 5-5-0; Nashville 7-1-2

Season series: The Nashville Predators have won three of their first four games against the Chicago Blackhawks, though Chicago's lone win in the series came at Bridgestone Arena, 3-1 on Dec. 17.

Big story: The Blackhawks complete their regular season looking to bounce back from a lackluster 4-0 road loss to the Washington Capitals on Friday night. They will open defense of their Stanley Cup championship against the St. Louis Blues or Colorado Avalanche next week. Nashville won't make the postseason, but the Predators have been playing some of their best hockey of the season since the return of goaltender Pekka Rinne.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: A lineup that was missing injured star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews was also without Duncan Keith on Friday, when coach Joel Quenneville opted to give his best defenseman the night off. Chicago fell behind two minutes into the game and allowed a quick goal early in the second period as well.

"It was a tough start. They score like that from there and they get an early one like that in the second," Quenneville said. "Both periods we lose whatever energy we were looking to get in a game like that.

"We'll throw this in the garbage can and learn a little bit from it. Certainly we're not happy about the way it was played out, but it was one of those games."

Predators: Nashville was eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week, but that doesn't mean the Predators aren't playing hard to the end. Nashville shut down the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 on Thursday, handing the Dallas Stars the chance to lock up the second wild-card position in the Western Conference.

But Nashville's improved play is too little and too late to make the playoffs.

"If you don't make it by one point or four points, it doesn't matter," forward Patric Hornqvist told the Tennessean. "You have to get in or you get out."

However, the Predators would like to go into the offseason on an upswing, so winning their games against the Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild on the final weekend of the season has some value.

"It's been a tough year for us, but we still have to be professionals and try to win these last two games," Hornqvist said. "We have to do it for the fans. Thursday night, it was incredible to see how many fans showed up (17,174), and Saturday will hopefully be the same."

Who's hot: Chicago forward Patrick Sharp has five points (three goals) in his past four games. … Rinne is 2-0-1 in his past three starts and allowed four goals in that span.

Injury report: The Blackhawks hope to have Toews (upper body) and Kane (lower body) back for the start of the playoffs. … Predators forward Patrick Eaves (lower body) is out. He has not played since March 19.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.