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Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks Preview: Windy City Skirmish

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The Preds face the Hawks tonight at the United Center.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at Nashville Predators Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Nashville Predators

After entering the third period down two goals to Ottawa, the Predators responded with two goals of their own to tie the game. Although they stole a point in overtime, the Predators had bit of a rough time against the Senators. A game of turnovers resulted in the Preds chasing the Senators for most of the game, and a turnover was directly responsible for the OT goal from Thomas Chabot.

The Predators will seek two points in Chicago tonight. They should also seek to clean up some pieces of their game, including some sloppy defensive play.

Roman Josi scored twice and Craig Smith added another goal for the Predators last night. After Pekka Rinne was pulled after the first period, I’d expect to see Rinne in net against the Blackhawks. Juuse Saros was solid in relief of Rinne in Ottawa.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Blackhawks announced Monday that goaltender Corey Crawford has been placed on injured reserve after being diagnosed with a concussion. Crawford was hit hard in the San Jose game on Sunday. Colin Delia has been recalled from Rockford. Cam Ward is likely to start for Chicago tonight. He has a .883 Sv% in 14 games this season.

After beating Pittsburgh last week, the Hawks have lost their last two contests. San Jose’s stomping was especially painful with the loss of Crawford. The Hawks took Winnipeg to overtime last Friday.

Perennial top scorer Patrick Kane leads the Hawks in points with 38 (15 goals, 23 assists). Captain Jonathan Toews has 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists), and young Alex DeBrincat has 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists). Duncan Keith leads all defenders with points with 16.

Expect to see Dylan Strome centering Kane and DeBrincat and Toews centering rookie Dominik Kahun and Brandon Saad.

Memories and Feelings

  • There’s always some sort of chippiness to games in the United Center.
  • Will Duncan Keith and Miikka Salomäki engage in another scrap?

Reasons to Watch

  • How biased will the NBC Sports broadcasters be against Nashville tonight? However...this could be a reason NOT to watch. Your choice.
  • How will the Predators respond in back-to-back contests on the road?

Hawks Social Media

  • @NHLBlackhawks
  • @2ndCityHockey: The Hawks’ SB Nation site is Second City Hockey.

Tonight’s Theme Song

“Bad Blood” by Taylor Swift.

Tonight’s Drink of Choice

You probably need something stronger for tonight’s contest. How about a Christmas mint bushwhacker? I had one at Nashville Underground a few weeks ago and it was TASTY!

How to Watch

Tonight’s contest will be broadcast on NBC Sports. Puck drop is at 7:30 Central. You can catch the radio call on 102.5 The Game.