|Nashville Predators||Chicago Blackhawks|
|5-on-5 Save %||.918||16th||.928||3rd|
|# of PP's/Gm||3.20||23rd||3.44||20th|
|# of PK's/Gm||3.17||8th||3.09||1st|
Yeah, the Blackhawks are pretty freaking incredible. The dominate puck possession, have received excellent goaltending, and have the discipline to take the fewest penalties in the league. In their only previous meeting this season back on February 10, the Blackhawks came to Nashville and shut out the Predators 3-0.
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The Blackhawks are in the middle of a stunning free-fall, going just 5-5 in their last 10 games. Of course, before that they had an 11-game winning streak and earned at least one point in the standings in each of their first 24 games, but hey, it's all a matter of perspective.
Left Wing Lock gives us the following lines & defense pairings from Chicago's last game, a 7-1 steamrolling of Detroit at Joe Louis Arena on Sunday afternoon. The Blackhawks are a little shorthanded due to injuries to Marian Hossa & Patrick Sharp:
|Brandon Saad||Jonathan Toews||Michael Frolik|
|Patrick Kane||Dave Bolland||Jimmy Hayes|
|Daniel Carcillo||Marcus Kruger||Jamal Mayers|
|Bryan Bickell||Andrew Shaw||Viktor Stalberg|
|Duncan Keith||Brent Seabrook|
|Niklas Hjalmarsson||Johnny Oduya|
|Nick Leddy||Sheldon Brookbank|
Chicago Blackhawks Injuries
The real difference this year for Chicago has come in goal, where Corey Crawford has put together the kind of season Hawks fans have been hoping for:
|2012 - Corey Crawford||20||1156||13||4||3||39||2.02||497||458||.922||2|
For more on the Hawks, head over to our SB Nation comrades at Second City Hockey.
Mike Fisher is still uncertain to play tonight, so the forwards will have their work cut out for them. Will we still see Paul Gaustad centering Martin Erat and Sergei Kostitsyn, as was the case Saturday at Colorado?
As the Predators' game notes state, David Legwand's 55 career points (19 goals & 36 assists in 64 games) against Chicago mark the most by any Predator against any other single opponent. Perhaps he can step forward to lead the team in this time of need...
|2012 - David Legwand||35||8||9||17||-1||16||2||0||1||55||14.5|
Tonight marks the first of four contests between the Predators and Blackhawks over the next three weeks, making the road to the playoffs ever more arduous. At least after this one, eight of Nashville's final 12 games will take place on home ice. Can they take advantage?