Preview: Nashville at Chicago
When: 8:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 25, 2016
Where: United Center, Chicago, Illinois
The Chicago Blackhawks look to rid the sour taste from their mouths following a lopsided loss when they host the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Corey Crawford yielded four goals on 23 shots before being relieved in what he deemed to be an “embarrassing” performance in a 6-1 setback to Minnesota in the Stadium Series tilt on Sunday.
“We certainly did a lot of funny things in the last game, Sunday, without a real good explanation,” coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “Let’s nip that in the bud. That can’t happen.” Crawford is expected to be back in net versus Nashville, against which the two-time Jennings Trophy winner has posted a 3-0-0 mark with a 1.33 goals-against average and .966 save percentage. The Predators have been playing much better of late, extending their overall point streak to seven games (4-0-3) and their franchise-best road point streak to nine (7-0-2) with a 3-2 victory over Toronto on Tuesday. Filip Forsberg notched a natural hat trick against the Maple Leafs to increase his goal total to nine in the last nine contests.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CSN Chicago
ABOUT THE PREDATORS (29-21-11): Pekka Rinne has turned his fortunes around after a disastrous stretch, answering a 3-6-1 run with a 6-3-2 mark and a 2.08 goals-against average. The tough stretch saw the 33-year-old Finn yield three goals in a pair of losses to the Blackhawks. Veteran forward James Neal has scored twice versus Chicago, increasing his goal total to 14 in 22 career meetings.
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (38-19-5): Patrick Kane scored his team’s lone goal on Sunday to push his career-high total to 35, with five tallies and six assists coming in the nine contests following the All-Star break. Kane has scored three goals and set up two others against Nashville this season, raising his point total to 41 (20 goals, 21 assists) in 47 encounters with the Music City representatives. Captain Jonathan Toews notched an assist for the third straight game on Sunday and has eight points (two goals, six assists) in his last eight contests.
1. Chicago has permitted eight power-play goals in the last six games.
2. Nashville is just 6-11-3 against its division representatives.
3. Predators C Ryan Johansen has just one goal in his last 14 contests.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Predators 2