Blackhawks head to Nashville for first of back-to-back games

 

The reunions keep rolling for the Blackhawks as they head to Nashville to play against former Hawks Viktor Stalberg and goalie Carter Hutton just two days after re-acquiring Kris Versteeg.  Versteeg will lace up against the very player who sent him away from the Hawks in a trade to Toronto, Stalberg, who signed as a free agent in Nashville this past summer.

This is the first of back to back games for the Hawks, as they’ll return to the United Center to face off against the San Jose Sharks, their last home game before the ‘Circus Trip’ that will send the Hawks all over the Western Conference.

Nashville currently sits at the bottom of the Central Division, having lost 3 in a row going into their contest against the Penguins tonight, which finishes a 17-day road trip for the Predators.  Part of their skid is the monumental loss of former Vezina nominee Pekka Rinne to a bacterial infection in his hip expected to sideline him until at least December.  Hutton, a former Rockford Icehog, has had to step into the role, but the Predators have had difficulty keeping the puck out of their net, allowing roughly four goals per game in the nine games Rinne has been out.

The Hawks, meanwhile, ascended to the top of the Central with their win over Phoenix on Thursday, putting them two points ahead of Colorado, who has a game in hand.  Chicago has now won four games in a row, and are looking to build positive momentum as they move into a tougher part of their schedule.

Nikolai Khabibulin has been confirmed by coach Joel Quenneville as the starter for tomorrow’s contest, which suggests that Corey Crawford will likely play against San Jose.  Duncan Keith and Marian Hossa were both not a practice today, but the absences were cited as ‘rest days’ by Q, and that the two would play tomorrow.

The Predators also recently recalled forward Filip Forsberg from the AHL.  Forsberg, selected 11th overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by Washington, was a piece of the trade that sent Martin Erat to the Capitals.

Injury Report: The Hawks are still without Michael Handzus (upper body) and Michael Kostka (foot), both who are still on the IR.  Michael Roszival, who took a puck to the face, practiced with the team, but was scratched against Phoenix... Rinne is on the long-term IR for the Predators, and forward Mike Fisher is also likely to not play, practicing with the team on Thursday in a non-contact jersey.

Where to watch: CSN-Chi, FS-TN

Location: Bridgestone Arena, 501 Broadway, Nashville

Time: 7 pm CT

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