NHL

Sat, Jan 21, 2012 - 8:00 PM ET
Game Preview
 

Blackhawks-Predators Preview

Share This Story

   
 

The Nashville Predators have one of the league's stingiest defenses during their current three-week hot streak, anchored by the stellar play of goaltender Pekka Rinne.

They're likely to get a tough challenge against one of the NHL's most potent offenses.

Nashville hosts the league-leading Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night in a matchup of two of the NHL's hottest teams.

The Predators (27-16-4) have allowed only 20 goals during a 9-2-0 run since Dec. 28 and are coming off a 3-0 win over Columbus on Thursday.

Rinne made 38 saves and earned his fourth shutout, improving to 15-2-0 with a 2.24 goals-against average over his last 18 starts. He has a 1.34 GAA in winning his last six outings, allowing two goals or fewer in each.

"He's been really good,'' coach Barry Trotz said. "He's been tracking the puck really well. He's an elite goaltender.''

The offense hasn't been bad either, scoring at least three goals in seven games during their run.

Martin Erat had a goal and an assist while Mike Fisher and Shea Weber added goals Thursday. Fisher's came on the power play, where the Predators rank second in the NHL by converting 21.4 percent of their chances.

"Our power play has been getting us some big goals,'' Fisher said. "That gave us a big enough lead that Pekka could shut the door.''

Rinne, though, hasn't had much recent success against Chicago. He's 2-4-1 with a 3.34 GAA in his last seven starts - including the postseason - versus the Blackhawks, who have gone 4-0-2 in the last six meetings with the Predators.

Chicago (29-13-6) has won three straight games and is 5-0-2 in its last seven after beating Florida 3-1 on Friday.

Jonathan Toews scored his 27th goal - second in the league to Tampa Bay forward Steven Stamkos' 31 - and has scored in four straight games, while Patrick Kane scored and assisted on Toews' goal.

Duncan Keith also scored for the Blackhawks, who rank second in the league behind Boston with 155 goals.

Kane scored for the first time in eight games.

"A lot of guys have been producing around here, so it was nice to come up for the team tonight and score a big one,'' Kane said. "Any time you can score after a slump and a lot of focus on it, it's a good feeling.''

Coach Joel Quenneville never lost confidence in Kane, who has only two goals in his last 14.

"It was a matter of time, because in the last couple of games he was trending where he had great looks, more looks and more quality looks,'' Quenneville said. "I expect him to get more confident and keep it going.''

Kane scored twice and added an assist in Chicago's 5-4 overtime win over Nashville in the most recent matchup Oct. 31. Toews assisted on Viktor Stalberg's OT goal.

Rinne made 30 saves, though Corey Crawford earned the win after finishing with 24.

Crawford, 3-1-1 with a 1.96 GAA lifetime versus Nashville, likely will be back in net after Ray Emery got the start Friday and made 18 saves.

Crawford made 31 stops in Chicago's 3-0 win over the Predators on Feb. 24 in Nashville, where the Blackhawks are 3-0-2 in the last five meetings including the playoffs.

Tagged: Blackhawks, Predators, Mike Fisher, Corey Crawford, Pekka Rinne, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by



Play Hockey Simulation Game on WhatIfSports

NHL Videos

Toews, Kane: Easy decision to resign with Blackhawks Posted: Jul 17, 2014
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane say their decision to sign matching 8-year, $84M...

LA mayor 'F-bombs' Kings rally Posted: Jun 17, 2014
Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti toasts the Stanley Cup champion Kings in front o...

Kings, fans celebrate Stanley Cup Posted: Jun 16, 2014
Kings players celebrate winning the Stanley Cup with a parade through downtown L...

More Than Sports on MSN

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Pittsburgh_Penguins/browse/featuredproduct/175178/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_175000/FF_175178_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Sidney Crosby Pittsburgh Penguins Premier Hockey Jersey - Black
    Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Dallas_Stars/browse/featuredproduct/243363/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_243000/FF_243363_xl.jpg&w=100 124.95 Reebok Dallas Stars White Premier Hockey Jersey
    Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Tampa_Bay_Lightning/browse/featuredproduct/301017/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_301000/ff_301017_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Reebok Tampa Bay Lightning Primary Logo T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Anaheim_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/398322/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_398000/FF_398322_xl.jpg&w=100 43.99 Majestic Anaheim Ducks Black Official Logo Full Zip Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Detroit_Red_Wings/browse/featuredproduct/403205/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_403000/FF_403205_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Detroit Red Wings Youth Black Southpaw Backpack
    Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Chicago_Blackhawks/browse/featuredproduct/408123/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_408000/FF_408123_xl.jpg&w=100 159.95 Reebok Chicago Blackhawks #88 Patrick Kane Red Premier Hockey Jersey
    Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_Jersey_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/456774/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_456000/ff_456774_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New Jersey Devils Red Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt
    Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Vancouver_Canucks/browse/featuredproduct/665779/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_665000/ff_665779_xl.jpg&w=100 11.95 Vancouver Canucks 2011 NHL Western Conference Champions Hockey Stick
    Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_New_York_Islanders/browse/featuredproduct/752594/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_752000/ff_752594_xl.jpg&w=100 47.99 Majestic New York Islanders Royal Blue Felt Tek Patch Pullover Hoodie Sweatshirt