NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, April 12th
(All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (46-20-15) at Nashville Predators (36-32-12), 8 p.m.
(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
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
"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 10:27:48 ET