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Predators-Blackhawks Preview @NHLdotcom
Predators-Blackhawks Preview

GAME: Nashville Predators (25-12-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (13-23-4).

TIME: Sunday, 7 p.m. EST.

The Chicago Blackhawks try to stop a nine-game losing streak and avoid moving closer to a nearly 55-year-old franchise record when they face the Nashville Predators at the United Center.

With a 3-2 loss Tuesday to the Vancouver Canucks, Chicago matched its longest losing streak since Feb. 17-March 7, 2003. The Hawks have dropped all three games against the Predators this season, and a loss in this contest would give Chicago its longest skid since a 12-game slide to close out the 1950-51 season.

"The only way to get out of this is to keep working," first-year Chicago coach Trent Yawney said. "It's all we can do. We have to keep persevering."

Chicago has been outscored 34-16 and has just four power-play goals in 47 chances during the losing streak.

With disappointing Nikolai Khabibulin out with a groin injury and Craig Anderson ineffective, Yawney may look to goaltender Adam Munro to get the Hawks out of their funk.

Munro, Chicago's first-round pick in the 2001 entry draft, was recalled Dec. 29 from Norfolk of the AHL where he was 8-6-1 with a shutout and a 2.90 goals-against average. Yawney also was Munro's coach at Norfolk before being named Blackhawks coach in July.

Munro was 1-5-1 with a 3.66 GAA with the Hawks in 2003-04.

The Predators have outscored the Blackhawks 16-7 in the three meetings this season, but Nashville is also going through a tough stretch.

Nashville has dropped five of six after a six-game winning streak, including a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

Vernon Fiddler, who has scored in his last two games this season against Chicago, had the lone Nashville goal against Detroit.

"I thought it was a pretty good game overall," he said. "We obviously took some penalties, and that cost us the game. I thought we outskated them and took it to them. But they found a way to win and we didn't."

Nashville's offense continues to be dominated by Steve Sullivan and Paul Kariya, who have both fared well this season against Chicago. Sullivan has three goals and two assists in the series, while Kariya has four goals and two assists.

STANDINGS: Predators - 53 points, 2nd place, 6 PB, Central Division. Blackhawks - 30 points, 3rd place, 29 PB, Central Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Sullivan, 18 goals; Kimmo Timonen, 25 assists; Kariya, 37 points; Darcy Hordichuk, 100 PIM. Blackhawks - Mark Bell, 15 goals; Tyler Arnason, 20 assists and 30 points; Todd Simpson, 104 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 18.4 percent (49 for 267), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.5 percent (223 for 264), 8th. Blackhawks - Power play: 13.0 percent (30 for 230), 29th. Penalty killing: 84.8 percent (257 for 303), 6th.

GOALTENDERS: Predators - Tomas Vokoun (20-9-2, 1 SO, 2.60 GAA); Chris Mason (4-2-1, 3.20). Blackhawks - Anderson (2-6-1, 3.78); Munro (no appearances).

SEASON SERIES: Predators, 3-0.

LAST MEETING: Dec. 21; Predators, 6-1. At Chicago, Sullivan and Yanic Perreault each had a goal and an assist, and Kariya scored twice for Nashville.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 9-7-3 on the road; Blackhawks - 7-9-1 at home.

Associated Press
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