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Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks Preview: Staying Hungry

The fourth game of the road trip is tonight.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Chicago Blackhawks Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawks and Preds face off tonight in the Windy City.

Nashville Predators

The Predators shut out the Maple Leafs on Monday with goals by Mattias Ekholm, Kevin Fiala, P.K. Subban, and Colton Sissons.

The boys in gold took Tuesday off, so we won’t know what the revised line combinations will look like until morning skate today. I’d expect Filip Forsberg to be permanently back with Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson, and Calle Järnkrok will probably slot in with Colton Sissons.

Matt Irwin started a second game alongside Dan Hamhuis. P.K. Subban is still playing limited minutes. Kyle Turris, Miikka Salomaki, and Yannick Weber remain injured.

Will we see Juuse Saros start against Chicago tonight? Pekka Rinne has started both games against the Blackhawks this season.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Hawks are 16-22-7 on the season. We’ve seen them twice already (in December) and I’m sure the Predators are looking to settle the score. The Blackhawks dropped a game to Calgary on Monday evening.

Patrick Kane is dishing sweet feeds all over the place for the Hawks right now. He’s riding a 3-game point streak and leads the team with 56 points (25 goals, 32 assists). No other Hawk is even close to Kane. Captain Jonathan Toews has 39 points (17 goals, 22 assists) and youngster Alex DeBrincat has 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists).

Erik Gustafsson leads Chicago defenders with 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists). Young Henri Jokiharju has returned to Chicago after winning gold with Team Finland in the World Juniors. There’s no word when he’ll return to the lineup, but I’d expect Chicago’s coaching staff to put him back on the ice quickly.

Goaltender Corey Crawford remains sidelined with a concussion. The Blackhawks are absolutely handling Crawford’s injury in the best way possible. His health is far more important than playing hockey games. Collin Delia has been surprisingly excellent for Chicago. In 5 games, he’s posted a .947 Sv% and 2.19 GAA. Cam Ward looks a little battered with a .899 Sv% over 19 games.

Memories and Feelings

  • My only feeling about the Blackhawks right now is that they need to be in ZERO Stadium Series or Winter Classic games for the next decade.

Reasons to Watch

  • Can the Preds keep up their current win streak?
  • SO MANY Predators are riding point streaks: Mattias Ekholm, P.K. Subban, Calle Järnkrok.

Hawks Social Media

Tonight’s Theme Song

“I’m Real” by J-Lo featuring Ja Rule.

Tonight’s Drink of Choice

A coworker brought in random wines he procured over the holidays. I’ll be trying “Christmas White” from a winery in Wisconsin.

How to Watch

Tonight’s game will be on NBCSN. Puck drop is 7:00 Central. 102.5 The Game has the radio call.