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Your #1 Source for Nashville Predators News, Updates, and Opinions – A Nashville Predators Blog

Predatorial Pregame Warmup: November 16, 2013

pregame

Nov 16, 2013



Written by: Kristopher Martel

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Last updated: November 16, 2013 at 1:52 am

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Nashville Predators (8-9-2) vs Chicago Blackhawks (13-2-4)
Gametime: 7:00pm CT / 8:00pm ET
Television: FS-Tennessee
Radio: 102.5 The Game

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Injuries

Nashville Predators - Pekka Rinne (hip)

Chicago Blackhawks - N/A

Projected Goaltending Matchup

Carter Hutton, 4-3-1, 0 SO, 0.891Sv%, 3.39GAA

VS

Nikolai Khabibulin, 1-0-1, 0 SO, 0.818Sv%, 4.74GAA

Keep an eye on...

Nashville Predators -

Gabriel Bourque – Netting the lone goal for the Predators in their contest against the Penguins last night, Bourque showed poise in Nashville’s 4-1 loss. Two goals in his past three games, I wouldn’t put it past for Bourque to find a groove and stay productive. He’s one of the better forecheckers on the Predators lineup and should provide an added offensive boost if he can find the back of the net on a continual basis.

Chicago Blackhawks -

Kris Versteeg – Playing his first game with the Blackhawks since Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Finals, Versteeg is back for Chicago. He’s a mainstay on the third line, but a strong force for the Blackhawks regardless. Expect him to make some waves and showcase early why Chicago made a good decision to trade back for him.

Main Storylines

Nashville Predators -

Mired in a season-high four game losing streak, the Predators are looking for answers. After winning the first two out of three games of their seven-game road trip, Nashville dropped the final four by a combined score of 17-2. A return to home may be just what the doctor ordered.

Holding a record of 4-2-1 at Bridgestone Arena, Nashville will get a chance to play in front of their home crowd before heading back out on the road for two more games. The Predators are, quite simply, looking for any way to return to form. With mainstays like David Legwand and Patric Hornqvist leading the way for Nashville, the team has to find the pieces and do it quickly before the four game losing streak has a chance to grow significantly larger.

Patric Hornqvist and Gabriel Bourque are Nashville’s only goal scorers over the past four games, while both Marek Mazanec and Carter Hutton have been splitting the goaltending duties. Hutton, who relieved Mazanec in the third period against the Penguins, is expected to get the start against Chicago.

Chicago Blackhawks -

While Nashville has lost four straight, the Blackhawks are going the opposite direction. Winning 5-4 in a shootout against the Coyotes on Thursday, Chicago has now won four straight and seven of their past eight contests. Tonight will be the first of five games this season against the Predators.

With newly-traded winger Kris Versteeg back in the fold for the Blackhawks, he’ll be looking to contribute immediately for a squad that is already deep with high-end talent. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews lead the way offensively for Chicago with 19 and 18 points respectively. Duncan Keith has been a force on the blueline for the Blackhawks, rattling off a team-high 13 assists in their first 19 games.

Corey Crawford is pacing Chicago along with a stout 12-2-3 record, including a 2.31 GAA and .914 Sv%. Nikolai Khabibulin, however, is expected to give Crawford a rest and start against the Predators

Last time out...

Former Predators winger Matt Halischuk’s two goals wouldn’t be enough for Nashville to take down the now-reigning Stanley Cup Champions. A Marian Hossa overtime marker would be the difference as Blackhawks edged the Predators by a score of 5-4.

One interesting fact...

Chicago swept the season series against the Predators last season, winning all five matchups. However, through 86 total games against each other, the record now stands at 38-38-10.

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Photo Credit: Sarah Fuqua