NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Wednesday, October 13th (All times eastern)
Nashville Predators (1-0-0) at Chicago Blackhawks (1-1-1), 8:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Starting the season with back-to-back victories for the third time in four seasons just got a little tougher for the Predators.
Nashville be without its No. 1 goaltender in Pekka Rinne tonight when it battles the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, where the Preds have lost seven of their last nine trips.
A season-opening 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday was a costly one for the Predators as Rinne left the game in the third period with a lower- body injury after a collision in his net that also involved a teammate and Anaheim skater. Rinne, who ended with 29 saves, did not travel with the team to Chicago and the Predators on Tuesday recalled Mark Dekanich from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League.
He will serve as the backup to 22-year-old Anders Lindback, who made his NHL debut in relief of Rinne on Saturday, stopping all seven shots faced.
Martin Erat did also not travel with the club due to back spasms.
Steve Sullivan scored the go-ahead goal versus Anaheim on the power play, while Marcel Goc, Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand tallied as well. Nashville went 1-for-7 on the power play and held Anaheim scoreless on its three man-advantage chances.
"Our special teams were outstanding tonight and won us the game," said Nashville head coach Barry Trotz. "We had a lot of zone time on the power play and we were able to keep them from setting anything up when they were on the power play. Special teams will win you the game and they did tonight."
While the Predators will be without their starting goaltender, the Blackhawks could be minus defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson after he picked up a five-minute boarding call and game misconduct during Monday's 4-3 victory over Buffalo. Hjalmarsson has reportedly been suspended for two games for a blind-side hit on Jason Pominville. The Sabres forward crashed into the boards and needed to be taken off the ice on a stretcher after sustaining a concussion and gash above his eye.
Chicago's victory on Monday was its first of the season after an 0-1-1 start. Marian Hossa scored twice, Nick Leddy notched the first goal of his NHL career and Patrick Kane also scored.
After Marty Turco was in net for a pair of one-goal losses, Corey Crawford got the call versus the Sabres and made 32 saves.
"I was nervous after [allowing] the first two goals, but we bounced back really good," Crawford said. "We shut them down in the second, so that was great."
Turco will likely be back in net tonight and is 12-6-1 with a tie and 1.90 GAA in his career versus the Predators. That includes a 3-0-1 mark and 1.71 GAA in his last four starts against them.
Chicago won four of the six meetings in 2009-10 and has also come out on top in seven of the last 10 matchups overall. That doesn't include last season's quarterfinals, where the 'Hawks dispatched the Preds in six games.
10/13 10:55:30 ET