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Predators at Blackhawks preview

DeBrincat moves to Chicago's first line; Nashville looks to end two-game losing streak

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PREDATORS (4-3-2) at BLACKHAWKS (5-3-2)

8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports, FS-TN, NBCSCH, NHL.TV 

 

The Game

Rookie forward Alex DeBrincat will play on the first line, joining Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Nashville Predators at United Center on Friday.

It will be the second game between the Central Division rivals since the Predators swept the Blackhawks in four games in the Western Conference First Round last season. The Blackhawks defeated the Predators 2-1 in overtime Oct. 14.

The Blackhawks, 1-2-1 in their past four games, juggled their forward lines at practice Thursday. In addition to the changes on the first line, forward Richard Panik was shifted to the second line, with Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane.

The Predators will try to end a two-game losing streak (0-1-1) after going 4-0-1 in their previous five games.

 

Players to watch

Predators forward Filip Forsberg has 12 points (seven goals, five assists) in nine games. A goal against the Blackhawks would set a team record for most goals in October. Forward James Neal scored seven goals in October 2014 and October 2015.

Kane has a six-game point streak (three goals, three assists). He leads the Blackhawks with 12 points (five goals, seven assists). 

 

They said it

"I don't think we've shown enough of the 5-on-5 game that we can play and what we did last year, so I think we have a lot of work to do there. But the two days of practice got us a little bit more of an understanding of what we need to do, so that's something we can build on tonight." -- Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm

"A lot of us have played with a lot of different guys, whether it's been in preseason or just throughout the season. I think just for our group, things got a little dry there so we were probably due for a change. We've got so many good players on this team, it doesn't really matter who you play with. -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane

 

Predators projected lineup

Filip Forsberg -- Ryan Johansen -- Viktor Arvidsson

Scott Hartnell -- Calle Jarnkrok -- Kevin Fiala

Pontus Aberg -- Frederick Gaudreau -- Craig Smith

Miikka Salomaki -- Colton Sissons -- Austin Watson

Mattias Ekholm -- P.K. Subban

Roman Josi -- Samuel Girard

Alexei Emelin -- Yannick Weber

Pekka Rinne

Juuse Saros

Scratched: Cody McLeod, Matt Irwin, Anthony Bitetto

Injured: Nick Bonino (lower body), Ryan Ellis (knee)

 

Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Alex DeBrincat

Richard Panik -- Nick Schmaltz -- Patrick Kane

Patrick Sharp -- Artem Anisimov -- John Hayden

Lance Bouma -- Tommy Wingels -- Ryan Hartman

Duncan Keith -- Jan Rutta

Gustav Forsling -- Brent Seabrook

Michal Kempny -- Connor Murphy

Corey Crawford

Anton Forsberg

Scratched: Tanner Kero, Cody Franson, Jordan Oesterle

Injured: Michal Rozsival (upper body)

 

Status report

The Predators held an optional morning skate. Girard skated with Josi at practice Thursday and could play his fourth game. … Kane and Keith did not participate in the optional morning skate for the Blackhawks. 

 

Stat pack

Johansen has 16 points (four goals, 12 assists) in 22 career games against the Blackhawks. … Kane has 51 points (23 goals, 28 assists) in 54 career games against the Predators.

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