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Game Day: Blackhawks vs. Preds

by Thomas Willis & Brooks Bratten / Nashville Predators

(15-9-4) Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators (14-9-5)
  7 P.M. | Bridgestone Arena | #CHIvsNSH
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game | Pregame: 6:30 P.M.
Tickets | Subway Student Rush

The Nashville Predators return from a three-game road trip tonight to host the Chicago Blackhawks for the second half of a home-and-home series with their Central Division rival. The Preds fell 4-1 to the Hawks on Tuesday in Chicago; Eric Nystrom tallied for Nashville in the loss.

Tonight is also the first visit to Bridgestone Arena for the Blackhawks since the two teams squared off in the 2015 Western Conference Quarterfinal series last April, including two victories on home ice.

“You see them go on to become Stanley Cup Champions and it’s hard to watch that back here," Head Coach Peter Laviolette said Tuesday. "They took something from us that we fought all year to try to get to and they’re the ones that knocked us out, so there’s always that little bit of a burn inside."

Preds defensemen are first in goals in the NHL with 23. No other team (besides Nashville) has defensemen with more than 14 goals. Roman Josi leads the Preds in points with 21, including seven goals, while Captain Shea Weber has nine goals, eight of which have come on the power play.

Nashville has scored five power-play goals over their last three games, going 5-for-13 during that span (38 percent). The Predators also became the first team to receive multiple power-play goals from defensemen in consecutive games (Weber on Saturday at Detroit, Josi on Monday at Boston) since Feb. 10-11, 1996, when Christer Olsson (2 PPG) and Al MacInnis (2 PPG) achieved that feat with the St. Louis Blues.

Weber, James Neal and Filip Forsberg are all tied for second on the Preds in points with 18 apiece. Neal leads the club in goals with 10; Forsberg trails only Josi in assists with 13. Weber has 14 career goals against the Blackhawks, his most versus any team, while defenseman Ryan Ellis has nine career points (3g-6a) against the Blackhawks, his highest total versus any team. Neal has five goals in his last four games against Chicago. Goaltender Pekka Rinne is 11-7-5 on the season.

Patrick Kane leads the Hawks and the NHL with 43 points, including 17 goals. Kane has points in 23-straight games, a Chicago franchise record. Artem Anisimov has 11 goals for the Hawks, Artemi Panarin is second to Kane in points with 28. Corey Crawford, who stopped 36 shots against the Preds on Tuesday, is 13-7-2 on the season.

Nashville has dropped the last three regular-season games to the Blackhawks and are looking to win their first contest against them since Oct. 23, 2014. All-time, the Preds are 43-41-12 versus the Blackhawks, including a 24-17-6 record at home.

Predators Game Day Video:

Preds Players: Colton Sissons, Mattias Ekholm and Viktor Arvidsson

What to Watch for: Preds Web Team Breakdown

Coach Presser: Head Coach Peter Laviolette

Projected Lineups:

Forwards Mike Fisher (IR; lower-body), Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body) and Colin Wilson (lower-body) did not participate in Thursday's morning skate.

Nashville Predators:

Filip Forsberg Calle Jarnkrok James Neal
Viktor Arvidsson Mike Ribeiro Craig Smith
Cody Hodgson Colton Sissons Austin Watson
Eric Nystrom Paul Gaustad Miikka Salomaki
Roman Josi Shea Weber
Barret Jackman Seth Jones
Mattias Ekholm Ryan Ellis


Goaltenders: Pekka Rinne is the expected starter in net with Carter Hutton serving as the backup.

Extra: (D) Anthony Bitetto, Gabriel Bourque (IR; upper-body), Mike Fisher (IR; lower-body)

Defenseman Trevor Daley participated the Blackhawks morning skate but isn't expected to play tonight.

Chicago Blackhawks:

Teuvo Teravainen Jonathan Toews Marian Hossa
Artemi Panarin Artem Anisimov Patrick Kane
Bryan Bickell Dennis Rasmussen Andrew Shaw
Andrew Desjardins Marcus Kruger Ryan Garbutt
Duncan Keith Niklas Hjalmarsson
Trevor van Riemsdyk Brent Seabrook
David Rundblad Michal Rozsival


Goaltenders: Scott Darling is the projected starter in net with Corey Crawford serving as the backup.

Extra: (F) Brandon Mashinter, (F) Marko Dano, (D) Trevor Daley

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