NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 8th (All times eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (24-40-12) at Nashville Predators (44-25-8), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Nashville Predators hope to wrap up their second consecutive playoff berth tonight when they welcome the Chicago Blackhawks to Gaylord Entertainment Center.
With 96 points, the Preds are currently fourth in the Western Conference -- four ahead of No. 5 Anaheim. There are a few scenarios tonight in which Nashville can clinch a playoff spot, with the easiest being a simple victory. However, the Predators can also get in if Vancouver loses -- regulation or overtime -- to Calgary. Also, if both the Canucks and Preds only get a point this evening, Barry Trotz's club will secure a berth.
On Thursday, Chris Mason stopped all 18 shots he faced as the as the Predators blanked the St. Louis Blues, 3-0, at Savvis Center. It was the second career shutout for Mason, but his first blanking of the season.
Yanic Perreault recorded three assists and Kimmo Timonen, Shea Weber, and Paul Kariya each tallied a score for the Predators, who halted a two-game losing streak.
Regular starting goaltender Tomas Vokoun sat out with a back injury and is expected to miss this evening's tilt as well.
Nashville will visit St. Louis on Tuesday.
Chicago, meanwhile, has lost three of its last four games, including Friday's 4-3 overtime loss to visiting Edmonton. Ryan Smyth scored with 1:42 left in OT to lift the Oilers.
Mark Bell and Radim Vrbata each had a goal and an assist and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 35 shots for the Blackhawks.
Chicago will visit Minnesota on Tuesday.
The Predators are 5-2 against the Hawks this season, but Chicago has won the last two meetings -- both in the Windy City.
The Blackhawks are 0-4-1 (4 losses, 1 tie) in their last five trips to Nashville.
04/08 11:25:45 ET