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Blackhawks hope to end road struggles against Preds
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks don't know who they will be playing in the first round of the postseason, but they do know they will not have home-ice advantage.
The Blackhawks would do well then to end their current road troubles on Saturday night as they wrap their regular season versus the Nashville Predators.
Chicago won four straight going into last night's game in Washington, but dropped a 4-0 decision for a sixth loss in its past seven road games. The Blackhawks are 19-13-8 on the road this season compared to 27-7-7 at home.
The Blackhawks are locked into third place in the Central Division and will face either St. Louis or Colorado in the first round of the postseason.
Corey Crawford gave up four goals on 20 shots in the first two periods of last night's setback, and Antti Raanta turned aside all seven shots he faced in the final frame.
"We'll throw this in the garbage can and learn a little bit from it," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "Certainly we're not happy about the way it was played out, but it was one of those games."
Chicago, of course, is playing without two key forwards in captain Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane due to injury, and hope to have both back for the start of the playoffs.
Standout defenseman Duncan Keith also did not play last night, given the night off to get ready for the postseason.
The Predators are looking to finish the season strong and are 4-0-1 in their past five games. They extended that point streak with Thursday's 2-0 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Pekka Rinne made 29 saves to win his 162nd career game and pass Tomas Vokoun for the most in club history. He did so by posting his second shutout of the season and 32nd of his career.
"You know it feels good, but it's also a team achievement as well," said Rinne. "I've played with good players and good teams so this is all of their record as well."
It was a nice milestone for Rinne, who missed 51 games this season with a hip infection and is just 9-10-3 with a 2.66 goals against average and .906 save percentage in 23 games this campaign.
Craig Smith and Patric Hornqvist scored for the Predators, who are 7-1-2 over the last 10 games and conclude their regular season on Sunday at the Minnesota Wild. Hornqvist has seven goals over his past six games.
While the Preds have won three of their last four meetings with the Blackhawks, they have won just once in the previous five encounters at home.
04/12 09:51:59 ET
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