Series (Game 2 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

Predators 0

(3-6-1, 7 pts)

Blackhawks 2

(6-3-1, 13 pts)

8:30 PM ET, October 24, 2009

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 T
NSH 0 0 0
CHI 0 2 2

C. Huet (Blackhawks - G): Saves: 27, Save Pct.: 1.000

D. Byfuglien (Blackhawks - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

A. Ladd (Blackhawks - LW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Predators-Blackhawks Preview


With last week's road victory over the Nashville Predators, the Chicago Blackhawks tied their best start in 27 years.

Since then, the Blackhawks have suffered a pair of close defeats at home, and they're hoping to avoid two other significant losses before Saturday night's game against the visiting Predators.

With a 3-1 win in Nashville on Oct. 15, Chicago matched its 1982-83 squad by earning 11 points in seven games before enduring consecutive one-goal losses.

The Blackhawks couldn't overcome an early two-goal deficit in a 4-3 loss to Dallas on Oct. 17 and failed to hold on to a third-period lead Wednesday night against Vancouver.

In the 3-2 loss, Chicago (5-3-1) gave up two goals in the final 7:44 -- after captain Jonathan Toews was leveled by the Canucks' Willie Mitchell and left the game with an upper body injury.

Toews' status isn't known for Saturday and neither is that of defenseman Brent Seabrook, who also left Wednesday's loss with an upper body injury. Both players did not practice Thursday or Friday, but coach Joel Quenneville said they could play in this game.

Seabrook is part of a blueline scoring punch, one of three defensemen with seven points along with Brian Campbell and Duncan Keith. Toews scored his first goal in the loss to the Stars and has four assists.

If one or both players are missing Saturday, the Blackhawks are hoping to rely on their recent home dominance of the Predators. Chicago is 5-0-1 at the United Center against Nashville since Dec. 19, 2007, but both teams enter with struggling No. 1 goaltenders.

The Blackhawks' Cristobal Huet, who lost his starting spot last season to Nikolai Khabibulin, has a 3.25 goals-against average in six games, while newcomer Antti Niemi has a 2.07 GAA.

Huet, however, had his best performance in the win over the Predators but needed to stop just 12 shots. Quenneville said Huet will start Saturday.

Pekka Rinne posted a 29-15-4 record and a 2.38 GAA in his first season as the Predators' starter in 2008-09, but he's 1-3-0 with a 3.79 GAA in five games.

The Predators blew a three-goal advantage and a pair of one-goal leads Thursday night in Ottawa before snapping an 0-5-1 slide with a 6-5 overtime victory.

After being outscored 21-6 during their skid, the Predators (3-5-1) got two goals and an assist from Ryan Suter and Shea Weber, who tallied the winning score. J.P. Dumont added a goal and four assists.

"Definitely not a defensive battle. It was a lot of offense, but we got two points and we're happy," Weber said.

Nashville also ended an 0-for-23 power-play drought by scoring twice, including Weber's goal. The Predators have converted a league-low 9.1 percent of their power plays.

The Blackhawks have not scored in their last eight power-play chances, including a 5-on-3 opportunity in the third period Wednesday. They're also trying to get their top two scorers out of slumps.

Patrick Sharp, who has a team-leading five goals and 10 points, has one assist in the past three games, and Patrick Kane (eight points) has one assist in the last four.