GAME: Nashville Predators (43-24-8) at Chicago Blackhawks (23-40-11).
TIME: Wednesday, 8:30 p.m. EDT.
The Nashville Predators look to break out of their slump and move closer to securing a playoff berth when they visit the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Predators have lost five of their last six games, costing them valuable points as they attempt to clinch a playoff berth for the second straight season.
Nashville, in fourth place in the Western Conference, might be without starting goalie Tomas Vokoun after he missed a 3-1 loss to Columbus on Monday with a sore back. Chris Mason started against the Blue Jackets while Pekka Rinne was called up from the minors to serve as his backup.
Nashville's next four games are against Chicago and St. Louis, the teams with the worst records in the West. The Predators, however, wrapped up a three-game homestand by losing to the Blue Jackets, another club that has already been eliminated from playoff contention.
Nashville squandered several scoring chances Monday, going 1-for-10 on the power play, and failed to score on two 5-on-3 advantages in the second period.
The Predators were also missing Steve Sullivan, who leads the team with 31 goals, and Marek Zidlicky, a key power-play contributor.
"Not having Sullivan and Zidlicky in the lineup affects your power play," Predators coach Barry Trotz said. "We had lots of chances in the second period, but we didn't capitalize."
Nashville is 5-for-40 on the power play over the last six games.
"We had almost 30 chances to score tonight, which is a pretty high total," Trotz said. "But we came out a little short. We're just shooting blanks a little bit right now."
Chicago suffered a tough defeat at Colorado on Monday night, giving up two goals in the final 58 seconds of the game to lose 4-3. The Blackhawks, who have dropped seven of nine, fell to 11-25 in one-goal games this season.
"We made a generous gift to them," goalie Nikolai Khabibulin said. "They really needed one and we gave it to them."
Dan Hinote scored the winning goal for Colorado by shooting the puck off the back of Khabibulin's right pad with 12 seconds left.
"We have been through a lot this year," Chicago forward Curtis Brown said. "The effort was there, but unfortunately, something weird happened, and we don't get anything out of a good performance."
Nashville has outscored Chicago 27-11 in winning five of six meetings this season.
STANDINGS: Predators - 94 points, 2nd place, 18 PB, Central Division. Blackhawks - 57 points, 4th place, 55 PB, Central Division.
TEAM LEADERS: Predators - Sullivan, 31 goals; Paul Kariya, 49 assists and 76 points; Brendan Witt, 185 PIM. Blackhawks - Mark Bell, 22 goals; Kyle Calder, 32 assists and 53 points; Matthew Barnaby, 163 PIM.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Predators - Power play: 18.1 percent (85 for 469), 13th in NHL. Penalty killing: 84.0 percent (410 for 488), 9th. Blackhawks - Power play: 12.2 percent (46 for 376), 30th. Penalty killing: 83.8 percent (425 for 507), 11th.
GOALTENDERS: Predators - Vokoun (36-18-7, 4 SO, 2.67 GAA); Mason (6-5-1, 3.12). Blackhawks - Khabibulin (15-23-5, 3.31); Craig Anderson (5-12-3, 1, 3.44).
SEASON SERIES: Predators, 5-1.
LAST MEETING: March 1; Blackhawks, 3-0. At Chicago, Anderson had 20 saves for the second shutout of his career and the Blackhawks snapped a seven-game losing streak to the Predators.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Predators - 15-16-7 on the road; Blackhawks - 13-18-5 at home.