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Nashville Predators @ Chicago Blackhawks Preview: Once more, with feeling

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Will Pekka Rinne get a chance to beat Chicago again, or will Anders Lindback get the call?
Will Pekka Rinne get a chance to beat Chicago again, or will Anders Lindback get the call?

No sooner did the Nashville Predators secure a shootout victory last night in front of a sold-out Bridgestone Arena, than they had to jump on a plane and head right to Chicago for today's rematch at the United Center (6:00 p.m. Central start). Tonight's game is on SportSouth (DirecTV 650 SD, 650-1 HD; Dish 445 SD, 9515 HD; Comcast Nashville 26 & 284, per the Preds' preview), so make sure to join us as we see if the Preds can truly press the advantage over their Central Division rival.

Follow after the jump for some numbers & thoughts on tonight's matchup...

The Preds have 9 home games coming up in the month of February, including dates against the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver Canucks, and Chicago Blackhawks. Save some cash and use our Nashville Predators promo code for these, or any other home game.

Overall Team Stats

Nashville Chicago
  Record  24-14-6   16th   24-18-4   17th 
  Pts % .614 8th .565 15th
  Goals For/Game 2.52 23rd 3.06 6th
  Goals Against/Game  2.3 2nd 2.72 12th
  5-on-5 GF/GA 1.14 10th 1.19 7th
  PP% 14.3 26th 24.7 1st
  PK% 85.5 3rd 77.8 27th
  Shots/Game 29 22nd 32.3 9th
  Shots Against/Game 30.1 13th 28.5 6th
  FO % 49.9 17th 50.6 11th

Now that we're into the second half of the season it's time to bring some numbers into these previews (expect much experimentation with the format).

The Preds were hang around in last night's game despite getting heavily outshot in the first two periods, and they can't afford to go down that road again today.

Questions to be answered today

 

  1. Will Anders Lindback get the start? He earned his first career win at Chicago way back on October 13th, so he shouldn't be intimidated at if given the chance.
  2. Can the Preds carry forward the energetic play from last night's 3rd period? According to Josh Cooper, it followed another Barry Trotz locker room tirade. That's not something they can rely on all the time, however.
  3. How will Martin Erat fare? He seemed a step slow at times in his first game back, and having to play on consecutive nights leaves little time to get up to speed.
  4. Can Cody Franson settle things down? He was at times spectacular, and spectacularly awful last night. With home ice advantage the Blackhawks will likely target his pairing for one of their top scoring lines.
  5. What does this team have to do in order to ice a healthy lineup? Marek Svatos sat out last night with a "lower body injury" which could be related to his awkward tumble into the boards in San Jose. The Preds need his offensive punch up front, even with Erat back.