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Predators-Blackhawks Preview @NHLdotcom
Predators-Blackhawks Preview

GAME: Nashville Predators (21-7-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (13-17-2).

TIME: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. EST.

Steve Sullivan may want the Chicago Blackhawks to remember what they gave up when they dealt him to the Nashville Predators nearly two years ago.

The diminutive right wing will try to extend a goals streak against his former team when the Predators visit the United Center for the first time this season.

The Predators have taken both meetings from the Blackhawks this season, and are 4-0-1 in their last five against them.

Sullivan was a waiver pickup by Chicago in 1999 from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Twice he led the Hawks in scoring, including in 2000-01 when he set career high with 34 goals and 41 assists.

But Sullivan was dealt to Nashville in February 2004 for a pair of second-round picks. He has scored goals in three games against Chicago since the trade.

Overall, the 5-foot-9 Sullivan has 24 goals and 35 assists in 51 games with Nashville. He opened the scoring with his team-high 15th goal Tuesday on a two-man advantage in the Predators' 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.

"We got a good cushion in the first period," said Sullivan. "The 5-on-3 goal was a key for us. The last couple of games we have been able to do that."

Marek Zidlicky added a power-play goal 80 seconds after Sullivan's marker. The Predators have scored at least one power-play goal in five straight games and in 15 of their last 16.

Nashville also has won a league-best 16 games at home, but has struggled recently away from the Gaylord Entertainment Center, giving up a total of 11 goals in losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers.

Chicago lost for the third time in four games with a 5-3 setback Sunday to the Dallas Stars. Mark Bell, Mikael Holmqvist and Tyler Arnason scored in the loss.

"We gave up too many opportunities to score against us tonight and they scored every time," said defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who had two assists.

Bell is riding a three-game goals streak that began in a loss Thursday to Nashville. he has just five goals and five assists in 19 career games versus the Predators.

Chicago has won three of four from division rivals after losing six straight against them

STANDINGS: Predators - 45 points, 2nd place, 4 PB, Central Division. Blackhawks - 28 points, 3rd place, 21 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Sullivan, 15 goals and 29 points; Kimmo Timonen, 19 assists; Darcy Hordichuk, 87 PIM. Blackhawks - Bell, 14 goals; Arnason, 17 assists; Bell and Arnason, 26 points; Matthew Barnaby, 75 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 18.2 percent (38 for 208), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 85.9 percent (178 for 207), 4th. Blackhawks - Power play: 14.6 percent (28 for 191), 28th. Penalty killing: 84.1 percent (213 for 253), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Tomas Vokoun (17-5-2, 1 SO, 2.46 GAA); Brian Finley (0-1-0, 0, 7.00). Blackhawks - Nikolai Khabibulin (11-15-1, 0, 3.26); Craig Anderson (2-2-1, 0, 4.16).

SEASON SERIES: Predators, 2-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 15, Predators, 5-3. At Nashville, Tenn., rookie goaltender Pekka Rinne made 35 saves for his first NHL win and Sullivan scored a short-handed goal for the Predators. Bell had a short-handed tally for Chicago.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 5-4-3 on the road; Blackhawks - 7-5-0 at home.

Associated Press
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