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Predators at Blackhawks preview

Nashville going for third straight victory; Crawford to start for Chicago

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PREDATORS (2-2-0) at BLACKHAWKS (3-1-1)

8:30 p.m. ET; WGN, FS-TN, NHL.TV

 

The Game

The Nashville Predators will look for their third straight win following an 0-2-0 start to the season when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Saturday.

Chicago has lost two of its past three games following a 2-0-0 start, when they outscored the opposition 15-2.
Goaltender Corey Crawford is expected to start for the Blackhawks, and goaltender Pekka Rinne for the Predators.

This is the first time Chicago and Nashville have faced each other since the Predators defeated the No. 1-seeded Blackhawks in four games in the Western Conference First Round last season.

 

Players to watch

Predators forward Filip Forsberg has six points (four goals, two assists) in four games. His three power-play goals are tied for second in the League.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane has seven points (two goals, five assists) in five games.

 

They said it

"They have a great team game, they always have, going back however many years back you want to go. It's always a difficult team game playing Nashville. Tough to get to the net, tough to generate scoring chances. I think they've added some game-breakers, I think they've added a lot of speed in their game and they are good on the road as well. They've been a rival of ours for a long period of time." -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the Predators

"There's confidence, especially when you come back 0-2 and you're waiting to turn things around. We're just trying to get better every day, and I think we have. From the Boston game, where I didn't like it at all, to the Pittsburgh game where I thought we were more competitive, to an inconsistent game [against Philadelphia] to a much more complete game [against Dallas]." -- Predators coach Peter Laviolette on Nashville's 0-2-0 start

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Scott Hartnell -- Nick Bonino -- Pontus Aberg

Craig Smith -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Kevin Fiala

Austin Watson -- Colton Sissons -- Miikka Salomaki

Roman Josi -- Matt Irwin

Alexei Emelin -- P.K. Subban

Mattias Ekholm -- Samuel Girard

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Anthony Bitetto, Cody McLeod

Injured: Ryan Ellis (knee), Yannick Weber (upper body)

 

Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Ryan Hartman -- Tanner Kero -- Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp -- Artem Anisimov -- Alex DeBrincat

Lance Bouma -- Tommy Wingels -- John Hayden

Duncan Keith -- Brent Seabrook

Michal Kempny -- Cody Franson 

Gustav Forsling -- Jan Rutta

Corey Crawford

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Connor Murphy, Jordan Oesterle

Injured: Nick Schmaltz (upper body)

 

Status report

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Schmaltz is close to returning, but won't play Saturday. He has missed the past three games. Franson will play in place of Murphy. ... Josi, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, practiced Friday and could return, replacing Weber, who is day to day. 

 

Stat pack

Hartman leads the Blackhawks with eight points (two goals, six assists). ... Chicago has outscored its opponents 11-1 in the first period this season. ... Nashville ranks fourth in the League in power-play percentage (31.6) and has six power-play goals, which is tied for second. The Toronto Maple Leafs lead the NHL with eight. 

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