The Chicago Blackhawks have won four of their last five games
with an average of five goals. The Nashville Predators have won
three straight while allowing a total of four.
The Central Division foes will meet Tuesday night in Nashville
with each looking to continue their recent formulas for
The Blackhawks (24-7-5) scored three times in the first period
in Sunday’s 3-1 home win against Los Angeles, which hadn’t allowed
a goal in the opening 20 minutes in an NHL-record 18 straight
The victory followed a 7-3 loss in Toronto on Saturday.
“It’s not always about the team we’re playing against,” Chicago
captain Jonathan Toews told the team’s official website. “It’s more
about how we’re preparing ourselves. I’d say it was a much better
effort tonight, and it’s nice to see that we can rebound from that.
It doesn’t take us long to get back to our good habits.”
Marian Hossa scored a short-handed goal, while Patrick Sharp’s
tally gave Chicago at least one power-play goal in nine straight
games. The Blackhawks are converting 38.1 percent of their chances
in the last five games.
Toews assisted for Hossa and Sharp has seven points on a
five-game point streak.
Patrick Kane extended his point streak to nine games with an
assist on Kris Versteeg’s goal. Kane is second in the NHL with 45
points, recording at least one in 21 of 22 games with 17 on the
current streak. He’s scored in three straight games against the
Chicago’s goaltending has been its biggest question mark lately.
With starter Corey Crawford and backup Nikolai Khabibulin both
injured, coach Joel Quenneville has turned to Antti Raanta. The
rookie is 6-1-1 and has allowed more than two goals only once. He
bounced back from a rough night against the Maple Leafs with 22
saves against the Kings.
The Blackhawks can take the ice in Nashville with similar
motivation as they try to avenge an embarrassing 7-2 defeat there
Nov. 16. They can also earn Quenneville his 685th career win, which
would move him into sole possession of fourth place on the career
“I’ve been in some real nice places with some real good players
and real good organizations,” Quenneville said. “I’ve had the
privilege to coach and work with a lot of great players, when I
look back to spots I’ve been at. I’m very happy with where I’m at
and I like the group I get to work with every day.”
Nashville (16-14-3) has rebounded from a five-game winless
streak with three straight victories after Saturday’s 3-2 home win
over San Jose.
With starter Pekka Rinne on injured reserve due to a hip
infection, they’ve had goaltending issues of their own.
Carter Hutton, who played one game with Chicago last season, has
been in net for each game during the current win streak. He’s 3-0-0
in his last five, including two relief appearances, with a 1.10
goals against average and .966 save percentage.
He made 36 saves against the Sharks and faced 20 third-period
“They are a pretty solid team, and they are going to get their
chances,” Hutton said. “We kind of bent, but we didn’t break. We
weathered the storm and held on for a big two points.”
Beating another solid team might depend on the Predators
quieting the Blackhawks’ power play – something they’ve done
consistently for a month. Dating to their last game against
Chicago, Nashville has allowed three power-play goals in 14 games,
which is tied for the league low.
Nashville leading scorer David Legwand has 13 points in his last
12 games against Chicago, which went 5-0-0 against the Predators
Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell has been activated from injured
reserve after missing the last 14 games with a lower-body