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Projected lineups for Predators-Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger
CHICAGO -- The Nashville Predators look quite a bit different from the last time the Chicago Blackhawks saw them on Valentine's Day at Bridgestone Arena.

Of course, the same could be said the other way around too. Chicago didn't make as many changes through trades as the Predators have made since that 3-2 Nasville victory, but the Hawks are certainly not the same team as they were at that point.

That loss was Chicago's ninth straight winless game and things seemed to be spiraling downward in a hurry. The Hawks still had captain Jonathan Toews healthy, but their psyche wasn't.

Meanwhile, the Predators since that game have decided to push all of their chips toward the center of the proverbial poker table -- making trades to bring in the likes of pieces like defenseman Hal Gill, forward Andrei Kostitsyn and center Paul Gaustad and then convincing Alexander Radulov to return from Russia to join the cause.

Toews (suspected concussion symptoms) and Duncan Keith (five-game suspension) won't be playing on Sunday night when the Central Division teams meet up at the United Center for the fifth of six games against each other this season, but it's no less exciting of a matchup.

After winning five straight games and going 9-1-1 in the past 11 -- all without Toews -- the Hawks have pulled themselves within two points of the Preds in both the division and Western Conference standings.

A regulation win on Sunday night will pull them even and both teams will be just one point behind Detroit for second in the division and fourth in the West.

Pekka Rinne has started all four of the previous meetings for the Preds this season, going 3-1, and is likely to get the nod on Sunday too. On the other side, Corey Crawford has seemingly reasserted himself as the Hawks' starter with five straight wins and only five goals allowed in the last 107 shots he's faced.

Nashville beat Winnipeg 3-1 Saturday night at home, while Chicago's been off since beating the Vancouver Canucks in overtime Wednesday at the United Center. Here's a look at how the two teams might line up:


Martin Erat - Mike Fisher - Sergei Kostitsyn
Alexander Radulov - David Legwand - Patric Hornqvist
Andrei Kostitsyn - Nick Spaling - Gabriel Bourque
Brandon Yip - Paul Gaustad - Matt Halischuk

Ryan Suter - Shea Weber
Hal Gill - Kevin Klein
Francis Bouillon - Ryan Ellis

Pekka Rinne
Anders Lindback

Injuries: Roman Josi (upper body)


Andrew Brunette - Patrick Kane - Marian Hossa
Patrick Sharp - Brendan Morrison - Viktor Stalberg
Bryan Bickell - Dave Bolland - Andrew Shaw
Brandon Bollig - Jamal Mayers - Michael Frolik

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook
Johnny Oduya - Nick Leddy
Sean-O'Donnell - Dylan Olsen

Corey Crawford
Ray Emery

Injuries: Jonathan Toews (upper body, suspected concussion symptoms), Steve Montador (upper body, suspected concussion symptoms), Marcus Kruger (upper body, suspected concussion symptoms)
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