(23-9-2) Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks (24-10-2)
7:30 P.M. | United Center
TV: FS-TN | Radio: 102.5 The Game
For the fourth and final time this season, the Nashville Predators are set to face off against the Chicago Blackhawks tonight at the United Center. The Central Division foes have already faced one another on three occasions, with the Preds holding a 1-1-1 record versus the Hawks.
Tonight's matchup features the top two clubs in the Central, with Nashville earning 48 points, just two behind the Blackhawks for the division lead. The Predators are 9-3-1 against the Central this season, while Chicago is 12-4-1 at home.
Nashville is coming off of a 4-1 win over Philadelphia on Saturday, pushing their record to a perfect 11-0-0 following a loss this season. The Predators are now 13-2-1 at home this season, while holding a road record of 10-7-1.
Predators Captain Shea Weber stretched his current assist streak to five games on Saturday with a helper on Filip Forsberg's tally. The streak is a new career high for Weber and the longest by a Preds player this season. Weber leads all Nashville defensemen in scoring with 22 points (6g-17a) and hits with 75.
Preds forward Colin Wilson potted two goals against the Flyers, stretching his current goal scoring streak to three straight games, a new career high. In his last 18 games, Wilson has tallied 14 points (9g-5a). Of Wilson's 10 goals this season, six have come in the third period with two standing as game-winners.
Rookie forward Filip Forsberg continues to lead the Preds and all NHL rookies with 14 goals and 34 points on the season. The Swede is producing at a point-per-game pace and is now just three points away from tying Alexander Radulov for the franchise's all-time lead in points by a rookie.
Patrick Kane leads the Blackhawks in scoring, recording 39 points through 36 games so far this season. Chicago Captain Jonathan Toews isn't far behind, adding 31 points in the same amount of contests. Forward Brad Richards is expected to return tonight for the Blackhawks, while defenseman Michal Rozsival looks be a game-time decision against the Preds.
The Preds are 43-40-(2)-9 all-time against the Hawks and have a 19-23-(1)-3 record in the Windy City. Ryan Ellis has nine points in 13 career games against Chicago while James Neal has 15 points in 17 contests versus the Blackhawks, including a hat trick against Chicago on Oct. 23, 2014.
What to Watch for: Brent and Willy's Breakdown:
Morning Skate:Predators Update:
Forward Derek Roy cleared waivers this morning and was assigned to the Milwaukee Admirals.
Mike Ribeiro, who missed practice yesterday with a maintenance day, returned for the morning skate today. Nashville Lines:
Forsberg - Ribeiro - Smith
Wilson - Fisher - Neal
Bourque - Jarnkrok - Jokinen
Nystrom - Gaustad - BeckDefensemen:
Josi - Weber
Ekholm - Ellis
Bartley - Jones
Chicago Head Coach Joel Quenneville stated that defenseman Michal Rozsival will not play tonight for the Blackhawks due to a lower-body injury. Goaltender Corey Crawford will start in goal for the Hawks.Chicago Lines:
Saad - Toews - Hossa
Versteeg - Richards - Kane
Bickell - Shaw - Carcillo
Sharp - Kruger - Smith