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Blackhawks wrap up six-game trip in Nashville

by John Kreiser

BLACKHAWKS (9-0-2) at PREDATORS (5-2-4)

TV: CSN-Chicago; FS-Tennessee

Last 10: Chicago 8-0-2; Nashville 5-2-3

Season series: The Central Division rivals are meeting for the first time this season; they play four more times from April 1-19. Nashville won four of the six games last season, and one of the losses came in overtime.

Big story: The Blackhawks come to the end of a six-game road trip that saw them lose the first two games in shootouts and win the next three to remain unbeaten in regulation through 11 games - despite playing nine of them on the road. They got to sit back in Nashville on Saturday night and watch the Predators lose 2-1 in overtime at Minnesota.

Team Scope:

Blackhawks: Chicago can't play much better than it did Thursday night in Phoenix, where a four-goal first period removed any doubt about the outcome of a game that ended 6-2 for the Hawks.

With a seven-game homestand awaiting them after Sunday's game, coach Joel Quenneville wants his team to finish its road trip on a positive note.

"Every game we're going into, it's a tough building," Quenneville said. "We know Nashville is on a roll right now. Certainly, it's going to be a fun game to play, but we want to keep the momentum going and don't change much."

Chiicago is expected to play Corey Crawford in goal after Ray Emery started against the Coyotes.

Predators: The new rule that penalizes players for playing the puck with their hands on faceoffs bit the Predators on Saturday night in Minnesota. Paul Gaustad, who had scored Nashville's lone goal, was whistled for a hand-pass penalty on a faceoff at 2:48 of overtime - the puck hit the ice and bounced in the air, appearing to land on Gaustad's hand, which was still on his stick. But the penalty was called, and Minnesota's Devin Setoguchi scored during the power play to end Nashville's four-game winning streak.

"I'm going to get an explanation from the League. For me it was a poor call, a questionable call at a very important time of the game," coach Barry Trotz said.

Despite the ending, Trotz wasn't unhappy with his team's play.

"It was a good point for us, we came in here against a very desperate team," he said. "They had a big push, they're trying to right the ship if you will, and we'll take the points on the road."

Who's hot: Chicago's Patrick Kane has reeled off points in five consecutive games and has goals in four in a row. He leads the team with eight goals and 18 points. He has seven multi-point games, and the Blackhawks have won all seven. … Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne is coming off a 32-save shutout of Los Angeles on Thursday and has stopped 111 of the last 115 shots he faced.

Injury report: The Blackhawks are still without defenseman Michal Rozsival (lower body) and forward Daniel Carcillo (knee). … Nashville is missing forward Patric Hornqvist, who's sidelined with a knee injury.

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