Series (Game 1 of 6)

Chicago leads 4-2

Game 1: Thursday, October 15th
Game 2: Saturday, October 24th
Game 3: Thursday, October 29th
Game 4: Friday, December 4th
Game 5: Saturday, December 26th
Game 6: Sunday, December 27th

Blackhawks 3

(5-1-1, 11 pts)

Predators 1

(2-4-0, 4 pts)

8:00 PM ET, October 15, 2009

Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, Tennessee

1 2 3 T
CHI 0 2 13
NSH 0 1 01

B. Seabrook (Blackhawks - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

M. Erat (Predators - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

J. Toews (Blackhawks - C): Goals: 0, Assists: 1

Blackhawks-Predators Preview


The Chicago Blackhawks have won three straight games decided by one goal. The way the Nashville Predators are playing, they'd probably settle for losing by that much.

The Central Division rivals open their season series Thursday night, when the Blackhawks venture into Nashville trying to hand the Predators a fourth straight loss.

Chicago (4-1-1) is starting to resemble the team that reached the Western Conference finals last season, ending a five-year playoff drought in the process. Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist in Wednesday's 4-3 home win over Edmonton.

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"I thought we had a real strong game across the board, all the lines contributing," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I thought we had a lot of puck possession, our 'D' had a real good gap."

Nashville (2-3-0) played three one-goal games to start this season, winning the first two. The Predators, though, have been outscored 12-1 in losing their last two games.

They were shut out for the second time in three games Wednesday in a 6-0 loss at Dallas. Nashville's offense has produced a league-worst seven goals.

"We've scored seven goals in five games now," coach Barry Trotz said. "That's not going to win you too many games. We've got to crash and bang, play stronger defense and play with urgency and a lot of focus."

Chicago went 3-2-1 against Nashville last season, including two wins in April that helped end the Predators' streak of consecutive playoff appearances at four.

Both teams could have questions about their starting goaltender Thursday.

Cristobal Huet will see his first action for Chicago since Monday, when he was pulled after giving up three early goals. That was the game in which the Blackhawks fell behind 5-0 in the first period before their historic rally for a 6-5 overtime victory over Calgary.

Huet posted an 0-2-1 record and a 3.32 goals-against average in three starts against Nashville last season.

The Predators may be left with worse options in net. Pekka Rinne was pulled after yielding four goals on nine shots in the first period of Monday's 6-1 loss to Edmonton.

Two nights later against the Stars, Dan Ellis allowed three goals on three shots before exiting in favor of Rinne. Nashville trailed 4-0 after one period for the second straight game.

"It was the right decision," Ellis said. "If your goalie is not making saves, you have to make a change."

Ellis is 2-2-1 with a 2.42 GAA in his career against the Blackhawks, while Rinne is 3-3-0 with a 2.37 GAA.

Nashville will honor winger Steve Sullivan on Thursday night for winning the Masterton Trophy last season. Sullivan, who spent parts of five seasons with the Blackhawks from 1999-2004, has not scored since opening night in Dallas.

Chicago, meanwhile, is still looking for Jonathan Toews to score in 2009-10. Toews, whose 35 goals led the Blackhawks last season, had two assists Wednesday to bring his season total to three.