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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, December 17th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (24-7-5) at Nashville Predators (16-14-3), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - After snapping the winning streak of one red-hot team over the weekend, the Chicago Blackhawks look to deny the Nashville Predators a season-high fourth straight victory when the two clubs clash in the Music City on Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks have won four of their last five games and halted Los Angeles' six-game winning streak on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over the visiting Kings. Chicago got all three of its goals in the first period and saw rookie netminder Antti Raanta make 21 saves in a bounce-back effort.
Raanta allowed five goals in just two periods of work the previous night in a 7-3 loss to Toronto, but came 3:54 short of his first career shutout while improving to 6-1-1 with a 2.41 goals against average in nine games (7 starts).
Marian Hossa scored shorthanded, Kris Versteeg at even strength and Patrick Sharp on the power play for the Blackhawks, while Jonathan Toews had two assists and Patrick Kane one.
"We knew what we had to do tonight in order to really get ourselves off on the right foot," said Versteeg. "The other night we took some penalties right at the start of the game and got ourselves behind and didn't play with the assertiveness we needed. Tonight we did that from the first puck battle."
Kane has logged four goals and 13 assists over a nine-game point streak, though Sunday marked the first time in five games he did not finish with multiple points.
Chicago could get forward Bryan Bickell back in the lineup tonight after activating him from injured reserve on Monday. Bickell has been out since suffering a left leg injury on Nov. 19 and has logged five goals and six points in 22 games this season.
Nashville comes in aiming to win four in a row for the first time since Jan. 31-Feb. 7 of last season and recorded its second three-game win streak of the season with Saturday's 3-2 win over San Jose.
Carter Hutton was strong with 36 saves and has been in net for each game of the Predators' current win streak. He has stopped 97-of-101 shots in that span, with the rookie getting named the NHL's Third Star for the week on Monday.
Eric Nystrom, Roman Josi and Viktor Stalberg scored and had an assist for the Predators, whose winning streak comes on the heels of five losses in a row.
"We battled hard and were able to keep them away from us. It was a big win for us. We will enjoy this one tonight and try to move forward," said Stalberg.
The Preds wrap a three-game homestand tonight looking for a second victory in as many games versus the Blackhawks this season. Nashville had lost six straight to Chicago before winning the first of five meetings this campaign 7-2 at home on Nov. 16.
That loss snapped Chicago's three-game win streak in Nashville.
12/17 10:47:42 ET
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